Friday, March 24, 2006

The world stops spinning and hell freezes over...

Because I must admit I am wrong. "What??" you gasp. "Kelly Love could be WRONG?" Yes, she could be. Just this once.

Let's just say I've had some issues over the past year with my family. Specifically, the great friendship I used to have with my mother has dwindled away following the birth of my younger sister's son a year and three months ago. My mom and I used to spend a lot of time together (she lives about 20 minutes outside of Charleston). We used to play backgammon, shop, have dinner, and chat on the phone a few times a week.

Since my gorgeous nephew was born, my mother now spends most of her weekends in Hilton Head at my sister's house. When she talks on the phone, it is to my sister. I have gone for more than three months at a time without seeing her (I know lots of people don't see their families for years at a time, but mine is very close and we don't do that). Sometimes, she doesn't return my calls. When she does, I get to hear about all of the cute and adorable things The Smartest Baby in the World is doing.

I've resented it, and probably taken it out on my sister a little. Katie gets to spend nearly every weekend with my mother because she's there with the baby. My mother calls her daily. Yesterday, when my sister called to tell me she would be in town for my mother's birthday, I went off the deep end about the plans, got irritated because I really can't drop everything and leave work the day our magazine goes to the printer, and said it really didn't matter anyway because as long as mom gets to see the little one and Katie, Sean Connery and Neal Diamond could be sitting at the same table and my mother wouldn't notice. My sister reacted as one should: "stop feeling sorry for yourself."

I got mad, but then I realized: It is her turn. My sweet sister, who was always "the good girl," two years younger than I, spent YEARS of her childhood taking a back seat to me. I was the one who got my mother's attention, even if it was in a negative way. Having school conferences about my attitude, talking the vice principal into giving me detention instead of suspension, bailing me out of jail, and, once I'd moved out of the family home, paying my rent so I wouldn't get evicted after I spent the rent money on other things, lost yet another job, or had yet another boyfriend wreck my car. For years, I was the phone call in the middle of the night. I was the neurotic mess. I was the just-out-of-rehab girl. I was the black sheep, the family money pit, the you'd-better-walk-on-eggshells or she'll get out of control.

Throughout all of this, my sister got straight As, lived with my mom until she was 22, got a good job, got a better one, bought a house, met her true love, got married, and then had a baby last year. And I don't think my mother ever lost a night of sleep over anything Katie did.

I managed to get my sh*t together and I don't think I've caused my mother distress in many years. So she's enjoying her new grandchild and paying more attention to my sister now. I had my time. And I had more than my share. It's about time someone else in the family got some mom-time.

So yes, I was wrong. I'm going to quit being such a baby about it. I'm going to listen to all of the cute and adorable things my nephew does that charm my mother so much, no matter how long she wants to talk about them. And I'm going to remember that my sister sat on the sidelines and watched me compete in the F*ck Up Olympics for a good 10 years. Now it's my turn to sit on the bench.

Happy birthday, mom. I love you bigger than the sky.

10 comments:

  1. You rock, that is all I have to say.

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  2. Hugs, my mature and selfless friend. Go have a martini.

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  3. Wow, what a sweet and wonderful post.

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  4. Wow, this is so weird, but I am going through the exact same thing. Except I am your sister in this story. I hope she reads this or you tell her what you said here. This is everything I would want to hear from mine. I have felt guilty for being the good girl and like I could never make things right enough for her to be happy. Good for you for having this realization. I wish my sister would.

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  5. This is one of the coolest things I've read in a long time. Sometimes I think we can amaze ourselves at how much we mature.

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  6. I love that Aleigh and I had the same thought. Yeah, yeah, yeah..very sweet and all that crap but how can I use this in an essay?

    xo

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  7. Thought I recognized you from the F*ck Up Olympics. I used to compete too but I'm thankfully retired now. You've got some great personal insight there.

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  8. wow - this was so personal, so introspective and such a great ending. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. It is really mature of you to write that.
    i give you kudos.

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