I have never done well when it comes to friendships with other women. Frankly, they make me awkward. I have always related better to men. Always felt more at ease and comfortable in their presence. Women make me nervous. Put me on edge. It is like that line in Van Morrison’s song Wild Night…
While all the girls are dressed up for each other…
Maybe it is because I grew up alongside brothers. And one very tomboyish step-sister. Maybe it is because I can’t relate to other women because I haven’t met other women with interests similar to my own yet. Even though I thought I had on several occasions. Maybe it is because my bio-mother was a cruel, judgmental, abusive bitch. And the grace, kindness and love of my mom wasn’t enough to reverse the damage done.
Whatever it is. I suck at friends.
No-No Ya-Ya Sisterhood
My step-sister is six years my senior. She never lived with us. She was the youngest of my step-father’s children. Adopted by him and his first wife. I liked my sister. She was a lot of fun when we were little. She was a brilliant soccer player. Traveled all over with Canada’s Under 18 team. Got a soccer scholarship to post-secondary school. Then got pregnant.
I can remember being an early teenager and helping her on her wedding day. She was getting married in the backyard of her childhood home. Two little kids toddling in circles around her. Family all a bustle. She hadn’t thought about hair and make-up. She was a throw the clothes on kind of girl. Her mother and step-mother slapped on some eye shadow and blush. I attempted to make something of her hair. In the end it was cute event. Full of the stuff of families. Which always includes good stuff, bad stuff and the shit in between. They went on to have three beautiful children, but the marriage didn’t survive the course of time. They eventually separated. My sister showed up pregnant one Christmas, informed everyone she and her husband had actually separated but remained living together. What she neglect to say then, but would have to divulge later, was the child she was carrying was that of another man. Last I heard, her ex-husband (who knows if they actually divorced) moved out, the three kids eventually followed him, and my sister spends her days “raising” one child and playing video games.
My oldest step-brother married who I swear was his first-ever girlfriend. She was something. A spoiled princess-type five years his senior. They wed on my 13th birthday. Eventually their marriage crumbled. They had a lovely little lad. My step-bro remarried a few years later. A gal much younger whom he had met (while married, ahem) at a conference or something for work, they exchanged info and kept in touch over the years. When their marriages ended they got together. Don’t get me started about her.
My other step-bro (with all the friends from kindergarten) was with a lovely gal. I adored her. When I was a teenager I thought she was the coolest 20-something year old. When I reconnected with the step-family and bio-mother I was thrilled to hear they had married. And spawned. A little girl. My now sister-in-law was still every bit as lovely and cool as she had been. For a while. Then I realized that how we perceive people and situations when we are young is often not how it is. And we learn that only through chronological growth. During our re-connection they had another little girl. Hubby and I often babysat them. They loved to dress him up like a princess and I enjoyed the opportunity to see him interact with children.
Unfortunately, none of my step-siblings are mature enough to conduct a relationship with me. Outside of the one they have (and I do not) with their father and my bio-mother. And so, I have no clue where any of them or their children are in their lives. The hubs, the wee one and I did bump into the two girls at a local event. They were with their nana. My step-father’s first wife. A completely lovely lady. A proper adult with common sense. She came right over with the girls, pleasant as punch, we exchanged a brief status update and hugged the girls.
Brother Three is currently dating a young lady my folks are very fond of. Since he refuses to have anything to do with me you are right to assume I have never met her.
Brother Two went through a string of girls over the years. He is married now. I have another sister-in-law. I sort of met her, when they were first dating, at oldest step-bro’s second wedding. Brother Two neglected to introduce her to Brother One and myself. She seemed nice enough. But it would appear that she is at least partially responsible for Brother Two neglecting to visit the folks and partaking in our family functions.
Brother One, to my knowledge, is not currently with anyone. He split from his girlfriend, the mother of his child, about 18 months ago. She and I did get along. Famously. My sister from another mister.
But on more than one occasion that friendship, that sisterhood failed.
When I was pregnant so was Brother One’s girlfriend (herein referred to as MG). In the early stages we had a disagreement, which was born from my brother’s misinterpretation of some advice. The stress of that led to some complications. I began spotting and was prescribed a weekend of bed rest after a series of uncomfortable and invasive tests. We quickly patched things up and were back on track. Pregnant pals. The kiddos were going to be born really close together and it was very exciting. We grew increasingly closer and closer.
Together we navigated pregnancy, compared appointments, and charted the monthly milestones and PREPARED FOR MOTHERHOOD. Together we navigated and survived the first year of parenthood. Together we made sure our little miracles would have ample opportunity to hang out…cousins! We had so much fun with the two of them during those first two years. Born only 10 days apart, they were more like twins. Celebrating milestones and exploring the world together. It was a beautiful sight to see.
But around the time the kids were turning two, my relationship with bio-broad was all but over. A whole host of ridiculous reasons. But the issues with her had found their way in to other relationships. There was a strain between Brother One and me, and the texts were growing curter between me and MG. And I remember thinking…
This is all going to go down over a fucking no big deal party, isn’t it?
I really struggled with that loss. Not the relationship with my bio-mother – she really has/had no relevance in my life – sure we reconnected for those couple of years, but were we to be honest anyone would say that was doomed from the beginning. The relationship with Brother One was also waning. He was growing distant. Uninterested in doing family things. Any “relationship” we had at that point was because of MG. She really tried. Put in the effort. Appeared, at least, to give a shit.
She was fun to be around. Did right by the kids. Wanted to do fun things with and for the kids. On several occasions she and my niece would join me, the hubby and wee one on adventures up north, day trips out and for visits. Watching the two little ones grow up so close was a magical thing. Brother One couldn’t see the magic. And, without knowing her, you could tell she was eager to settle down and really grow-up, for lack of a better phrase.
I thought me and MG were in it for the long haul.
I thought we would be friends forever.
I thought wrong.