Pages

Tales from the Bermuda Triangle


In the realm of architecture and also spirituality, three is considered to be a number of strength and unity - in the realm of sisterhood... not so much.  As I've noted before, I am the middle sister, with a sister two years older than me, and another three years younger.  So we've all lived over half a century, and should theoretically have acquired a bit of wisdom or at least common sense by now, right?  Well, one would think so anyway. 

I don't invest a lot of time in my relationships with either sister, hard-learned lessons have taught me it's much healthier emotionally to keep them at arm's length.  Communication is kept to a bare minimum with one, and in very general terms... the weather, etc, with the other.  I'm sad (sort of) that it has to be that way, but otherwise I get sucked into far more drama and cross-fire than I want or need in my life. 

I have always been the one stuck in the middle, trying not to align myself with either sister as one rails against the other, trying to mediate and keep the peace, and more often than not being the one that is under fire when communications blow up.  I've long since hit the point of insisting "don't tell me what Z is doing" and "I don't care what X says about me."  Either feels it is to their advantage to be able to claim my allegiance, which is never there to begin with.  They cannot be trusted, and will turn on me at the drop of a hat.  Our beliefs and values are far different, my life has travelled down a road far distant from theirs.

I blogged recently of a falling out with younger sister over a text that she wanted me to send to her son and I failed to comply with her wishes.  When angry emails start flying, I have learned to back away and let things cool down, though it's hard not to respond in kind.  So for the past few weeks it's been blissfully quiet with no word from either sister.

On Saturday I received an email from my older sister, sent to both me and younger sister, regarding a fund-raising effort to plant trees at the cemetery where my parents are buried.  They are asking for families to  purchase trees as memorials, and big sister wanted to know if little sister and I cared to chip in with her on a tree.  I responded, briefly noting that it sounded like a nice idea to me and asking how much the trees cost, that I was fine with it as long as my part wasn't more than around $30.  She sent me back a reply on Sunday night that the trees cost in the neighborhood of $80 and she was waiting to hear from younger sister, also wanted to know if I had a preference about what kind of tree to purchase, if we do.

Monday I get an email from big sister, sent to little sister and cc: to me,  indicating that she hadn't heard from me yet, perhaps because I was busy learning my new job (what, six months later??)  This kind of twisted spaghetti communication is classic with her.  I promptly emailed back, with a cc to little sister, noting that I had indeed responded and indicating my willingness to  participate in the tree purchase. I said just to let me know which sister to send my check to.

Big sister emails back saying that she is sorry for any confusion, but since she works during the day at a place that does not permit personal email or cellphone use, she could not have provided me with purchase estimate information, so I must have gotten that from someone else?  (Huh??)   I forwarded a copy of her email with the price estimate back to her without comment, and again noted that I am all for chipping-in, just do it and let me know what to send.  I say that I am fine with whatever tree they choose.

Little sister chimes in with an email to both of us, stating that she doesn't want to spend more than about $25 and that she prefers the  (Whatever name it is) tree with heart shaped leaves and blossoms in the spring.

Today's email from big sister to both of us lists two other trees that she prefers, one because of the pretty fall colors and the other because of it's weather resistance.  One costs $90 and one $110. 

Do you see what's transpiring here?  There is now going to be a contest of wills over which tree to choose.  WTH!!!  I mean really, just pick a damn tree and plant it!  Toss the names in a hat, whatever, I don't care.. .JUST DO IT!

We've had cemetery issues in the past, after Dad died, when big sister told little sister she didn't want to chip in on a seasonal flowers plan because Mom and Dad "aren't there anyway".  That upset our very sentimental little sister greatly. 

Then last year big sister decided she wanted to do a bit of decorating at the grave for whatever holiday it was, and little sister went ballistic because of the previous dis on cemetery flowers.  No one was going to horn in on her right to decorate those graves!

So now, here we are, in the midst of the great tree debate.  I REFUSE to get involved.  Big sister has said she will place the order with her credit card as soon as the matter is decided, so I will be sending off my check to her.  End of issue. 

Normally, in times when little sister and I are communicating, by now I would have had ten or more "aside" emails noting what a "B" my older sister was being, and how unreasonable, and how she likes to decide everything, and on, and on, and on, wanting me to take sides with her . I have to admit that I'm glad we are incommunicado at the moment.  My email box is blissfully quiet. 

Plant a tree, or don't plant a tree, if Mom and Dad are anywhere near and watching this scenario unfold, I'm sure they are shaking their heads at a scene they've seen replayed a hundred times or more in our lives.  Why does everything have to become a big issue?  Is it really that hard for three sisters to just get along?

This is just one more reason why I want my remains cremated and the ashes scattered, it would break my heart if my children would decide to  play war games over my grave... just saying.  Sometimes I'm ashamed to admit I belong to that family.

21 comments:

  1. What the bloody hell I feel for you I would just be sending her your $30 and tell her that is your contribution and she can get whatever tree she likes but that is all she is getting from you towards the cost of the tree and your other sister should do the same and she pays the difference..........

    It is when I read things like this that I realise how lucky I am to be so close to all my siblings. We all get along and see each other pretty much each week and often talk on the phone sometimes we can chat away for like an hour and it feels like only minutes.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I so envy your relationship with your siblings Jo-Anne, I'd be happy if my sisters could just be civil to each other!

      Delete
  2. Don't even get me started on the whole middle child thing. LOL.
    It's only recently that I've learnt to keep out of the way when things kick off with family.
    I love them all dearly but I don't like them and my life, although lonely, is much quieter and hassle free without them.

    I think that some people thrive off drama and so everything that happens has to be a huge issue. It makes me think what else they have (or more precisely, don't have) going on in their own lives to create such a fuss.

    I'm with Jo-Anne on this. I would have just sent the $30 and hoped that that would be the end of it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I knew you could relate to this one, Lily. It's taken me over 50 years to learn to bow out of such frays. THey read it as me "not caring". It's not that, it's that I don't enjoy their drama in my life, too much stress!

      Delete
  3. I so love my sisters. I can't imagine such antagonism. The husband's x-family gave me so much grief in contrast to the harmony of my family.

    To plant a tree or not seems rather moot at this point and all rather foolish. Husband and I had our funerals planned...then wisdom got the best of us and we chucked it all for instant cremation. My sisters worry that I might not be fully dead when I'm shoved into the furnace! Maybe I should be tested for reflexes prior?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It totally bewilders me Lotta Joy, it always has. I can get along with almost anyone, and I don't see why they always have to get into a conflict on each issue. It's been a power struggle for as many years as I can remember... so silly to keep it up at this age!

      If you aren't fully dead when you hit the furnace... no worry, you will be shortly! :-)))

      Delete
  4. I hate that you have to go through the stuff with your sisters. I really don't know why some families are so wonderful and others are not. It kind of goes with my comment yesterday and my post today. I am sorry for you. ~HUG!~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I continue to be amazed by just how petty the issues are that they so to war over, Annie. A tree, really, a tree?? I'm so happy I have a friend in my life who treats me like a sister should! What a blessing you are!

      Delete
  5. Wow- drama indeed. I am the youngest of three and the only girl so thankfully the drama is kept to a minimum. My biggest complaint is that as the only girl the responsibility of caring for our aging father has fallen on my shoulders- not a fun task but necessary. I too would send on the check for $30 and a nice note thanking her for organizing the purchase. And perhaps both sisters should be cc'ed on future messages so that neither one can play you against the other. And remember, you can pick your nose but not your family :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My little sister got most of the caretaking duties for my parents as they aged, because she lived closest to them. I've lived 1000 miles away for most of my adult life, and for good reason... just to avoid getting caught up in scenarios like this one! I do make sure to cc everything I send both directions, in the past forwarded messages sent back and forth have been known to get "mysteriously" altered, so I have to keep copies too! Pitiful, wastes way too much time and energy!

      Delete
  6. My sister is one of my greatest blessings in life. I wish you had that as well, but I'm so glad you have your beloved John standing by you each and every day, a force for love and support even when those who share your genes aren't capable of giving it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am ever grateful for that too, Robin. He listens patiently to these tales and soothes my upset over them. He also sees the craziness for what and where it is, and supports my decision to keep both of them at arm's length in my life. I wish it didn't have to be that way, Lord knows I've tried to get along with them, over and over. Older and wiser.

      Delete
  7. I don't mean to laugh -- but.... seriously? WTH indeed! Breathe lovely Josie. breathe and now -- this too shall pass, and the tree will stand in memory of the ones you love.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't blame you a bit for laughing, Louise. I have to just shake my head and laugh at them too. This is just one example of how ridiculous the issues between them can be. Does it really matter what tree gets chosen? NO! This is why I have learned to offer minimal input and just stand back and let them duke it out. I've tried to be the voice of reason, but they rarely listen, someone always feels slighted. SIGH

      Delete
  8. Wow, just, wow. Josie, I am simply shaking my head back and forth because all I can do is put myself in my children's shoes. I have my three kids and I think, would I want them arguing over blasted trees when I buried and gone? No, absolutely not. I want them laughing over memories they shared at Christmases past or when I went bananas one day and grounded them all for no reason whatsoever - not arguing about trees at my gravesite. You are right to just step back. Breath. Let it go. Hugs, Josie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, Elsie! Though I wish that what kind of tree gets chosen for a cemetary was my biggest concern in life, or anyone's for that matter! I think my sisters have too much time on their hands! I did, in fact, just tell them I was sending my contribution and they are free to make the arrangements as they see fit. I have finally learned not to get emotionally involved in these frays, it's literally taken years off my life with the stress and chaos they create! No More!

      Delete
  9. Postscript... My father's long-time girlfriend (after Mom died) decided she'd like to chip in on the tree too. Great! But then she decided to support my older sister's choice of trees, and now the younger one is most surely simmering in the stew, adding yet one more "hurt and disappointment" to her long list of family grievances. This is yet another situation where someone had to win and someone had to lose and what could have been a really nice family gesture becomes sour and sordid. I don't even ever want to see the darn tree! Maybe they each should have planted their own! You can about guess how it goes on the rare ocassions we've tried to plan a family event or go together for group present. ARRGGHH Family are the people who love and understand you, blood relations sometimes don't fit the definition. I feel more love and support here than I ever have with them. When you think about it, that's pretty darn sad, but such is life and I am blessed anyway! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have two sisters as well (I am the eldest) and you could be talking about my life. It has become so petty and ridiculous with the other two that I mostly have nothing to do with them now. They go on and on about insignificant things. I have quite a quick temper so I end up just letting fly, which makes the situation worse. I think the tree idea is a really nice idea. I hope you end up getting a nice one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the feeling well, Selma! I am FINALLY, at well over 50, learning to control my mouth. If I let them get to me I will certainly get fired up and enflame the situation. Both of them love to do a volley of emails, maybe two dozen or more, if the situation gets heated. It snowballs from the proverbial tree into a forrest! Everyon wants the last word. My new game plan... bow out! Let them have their fueds, I have better ways to spend my time and I don't need the ulcers and aggrevation!

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Cool! Heading your way to check it out! :-)

      Delete

Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)