So I was spending some time recently thinking about how and why I am the way I am. Specifically, my connection to my living siblings. I was born the youngest of 5 children, I have 3 sisters and a brother, my brother was the next youngest of the kids, and he was 7 years older than me. My eldest sister was 6 years older than my brother, so there was nearly 13 years separating me and me eldest sister. My eldest sister died in 1995, and my brother died in 1997, for those of you keeping score at home, and there will be much more about them later.
As I think is evidenced by the math above, I was the “surprise” of the family. My experience throughout my life has been that of someone just outside, looking in, if you will. Now, in my late 40s, seven years doesn’t really seem like a lot, but when you are 10, and your brother is 16, well, the priorities are difference for a 10 year old than a 16 year old. Here is another interesting fact I have been pondering for a while; I am the only one of my siblings without a “J” somewhere in their name. My sister’s first names all start with “J”, and my brother’s middle name started with “J”. Me, not a “J” to be found anywhere. This isn’t a new revelation, it was talked about all my life. I never really placed any significance to it until thinking about the separation between my sisters and me. Another memory that struck me is around my grandmother. In her house, there was a plate hanging on the wall that had all of her grandchildren’s names painted on it. Well, all except one. Someone had another plate made with my name. Again, I was on my own; outside; looking in.
I sense that my distance is a frustration for my sisters. Maybe that’s the connection right there, the fact that I can sense the frustration. They speak often, and I hear most family news well after the fact. I know that they would appreciate it if I was closer, but as I get older, I find myself more alone. Not lonely in that regard, just with less and less to connect us. One of my sisters lives approximately 1150 miles to the north of me, and the other lives approximately that far to the west of me. In an completely unrelated conversation, a good friend of mine, one of the members of the godAmsterdams said the following: “We all live on the same planted, we don’t all live in the same world.” It so succinctly summed up my feelings about all of this.