Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Sheep Who Painted Herself Black

My sister has put herself in a unique position as a result of all this. I realized that she has become the black sheep of the family, and it is her own doing.

My sister is going to be visiting to see my daughter's dance performance in 2 weeks. My brother, thinking she would inevitably flake, had planned to come up and support his neice. Well, my sister is most likely coming, so my brother has backed out. He doesn't want to be here with her. And sadly, I can't say I blame him.

I have been fortunate enough that, even at her worst, my sister has always had a level of respect for me that she has never had the guts to defy. I am the only person in our family she has never stolen property from. (Although she admitted to me a few months ago that at one time she was planning to, but couldn't find a pawn shop within 60 miles of us.) Make no mistake, she has burned me plenty in other ways, but she has not broken my trust or frustrated me nearly as much as she has our brother.

So I understand why he is unwilling to be around her. He loves her, but he doesn't like her. He doesn't like who she is anymore, even now that she is clean. And that is sad, but again, to me, its understandable. He has been too hurt and spent too much unreciprocated effort on her.

I have to admit though, I am quite relieved they won't both be here at the same time. There is a tension you can feel hanging in the air when they're together. Like a volcano, you know the tempers and drama are building under the surface, and eventually its going to erupt. And it usually does. And it doesn't take much to make him angry or her defensive, so it never takes that long. Sometimes it reminds me of the scene in Shrek 2 when Fiona's father and Shrek are arguing over the dinner table, ripping food apart and throwing food and silverware everywhere, and amidst all of it, the Queen quitely and sarcastically says, "Its so nice to have the family together for dinner."

I feel like the Queen. I love them both equally and I want there to be peace between them - and I try hard to be the unbiased mediator - but I easily tire of that job. I just want a "quiet family dinner," but instead end up with my food and silverware flying through the air, so to speak. I live a very quiet, low-drama life, so its like shock waves when they are in my environment (or any environment, for that matter) fighting like cats and dogs.

A few years ago, I felt like the odd man out. I was 400 miles away with my own family and my own life. When I came "home" to my parents' house to visit, I felt like the outsider. Both still living at home and sharing some of the same friends, I felt the slight twinges of jealousy over their relationship. They understood what was going on in eachother's lives.

But now my sister is the odd man out, the black sheep, the catalyst to all the family drama. Its sad to say, but she is the one that is the hardest to be around, the one we feel we cannot always relate to, and certainly can't control. We are always waiting for the drama to start when she's around. Now that she's clean, it doesn't always, but it often does. I find it so incredibly sad that she did this to herself, that she has made her own family question whether they want her around. She was once a white sheep, one who blended and fit in with all of us. But being the curious little sheep she is, she got into the black paint (the drugs) and is now the black sheep. We didn't remove her, she separated herself. She brought this upon herself with her drugs, her choices, and her drama.

I can't wait for the day when we can all have family visits that are harmonious. I am not sure that will ever happen, but I have to hold out hope that some day it will. I am sick and tired of being the peacekeeper, being the mediator, trying to remain loving and neutral and see both sides without judging or taking a side. I am tired for my brother, feeling like he cannot trust her and can't even like her. I am tired for my parents, seeing their children unable to get along and unwilling to try and enjoy eachother's company, even through eachother's flaws. Hopefully someone will come and wash the little sheep off, and soon things will be back to normal again. But with an addict, normal is all relative anyway.

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