Sunday, February 22, 2009

Family's complicated

My sister, Melissa Tyne who is two years and 4 days younger than me, has been a source of pain, anger, guilt, and jealousy as long as I have known her. Among those emotions, she has also been the source of friendship, laughter, joy, fun, loyalty, and has shown me how to work hard.

My earliest memory of my sister: Every where we went, people would bend down to her and say, “look at that hair of yours, look at those cute cheeks, look at those big brown eyes!” I was usually then just ignored. Hmmmm. I think right there is where the jealousy came in. I wanted to be cute too! In reality I went through a 28 or so year awkward stage, starting at birth.

Tyne and I used to be two peas in a pod. I remember fishing trips with her and playing in the front yard. We once painted our front porch yellow and blue. We got into so much trouble together. I have so many great memories when we were really little that I can’t even name them all. We used to run around naked in our fruit orchard…in fact all over our property. We’d play in the irrigation water and the cluttered upstairs rooms of our house trying to discover treasures. She has never liked to sleep alone and we both used to sleep in my twin bed, my head at the head, her head at the foot. I remember my mom roasting pumpkin seeds one year after we carved our pumpkins and Tyne and I snuck downstairs that night to sneak some. I am pretty sure that we had eaten all of them by morning.

Growing up we lived in a big, old house. The light switches were in weird places and not easily accessible, especially in the dark, of which we were both scared of. So, if one of us had to go to the bathroom, we’d wake the other and make a quick field trip. Before we came up with this potty plan of attack, I was using my “little people” toys farm silo and a pillow. Now, I don’t remember this…my mom so kindly likes to remind me of her discovery of my potty tools upstairs and when I say remind me, I really mean she likes to poke fun at me.

During elementary school I remember her being so much fun. She would come up with all sorts of games to play with TJ and Bethany. They were always playing. Me, on the other hand, just sat in my room and read or played Nintendo or was at a friend’s house. Every once in a while I joined in and loved it, but I would always forget how much I liked it and so the next time I would gloomily sit out. I hated that everyone loved her and wanted to be her friend. She had so many friends all the time. I was different. I was a strange kid. I had such an imagination and my mom let us be, so my hair was never done, my clothes never matched, and I wanted to be a boy, so I wore boy clothes and had boy haircuts. Plus, I wore glasses, always had a retainer, was gangly, and had the freckles. Oh, and if my hair wasn’t cut boy style, it was permed, poodle like. In fact, guess who taught me how to do my hair… my Uncle Geoff. I was such a tomboy. So needless to say, I was ridiculed in elementary school and teased relentlessly. I had my one very best friend, Kristen, and then Angie was our friend off and on. I remember hating to be in my own skin. I think I started growing up a little too fast and went into adolescent depression in the 3rd grade. I was the moody, unpleasant, anti-social kid who hates the family very early. I never went through that in high school when everyone else around me was going through that sort of thing. But, really what I am trying to say in this paragraph is that I missed out on knowing my littlest sister and brother growing up while Tyne really got to know them.

One thing that I am forever mad at myself for is not being more aggressive in standing up for my little sister. Every year it snowed during the winter and there was an LDS ward building next door to our elementary school. The snow plow would come by and plow the parking lot and leave a huge pile of snow that us kids would play on after school. Tyne was waiting for me one day when I was in the 6th grade and she in the 4th, I don’t know if I had something going on or if I was just slow getting out of school, but my next memory is very vivid. She came running up to me on the sidewalk in front of the school holding one hand in the other with blood dripping and she was near hysterical. One of the boys in my class (and yes, I still remember his name) had cleats on and stepped on her hand and then twisted. I sat next to him in class and he turned to me and said, “that was funny what I did to your sister huh!” I wanted to kill him!!! I think the thing that broke my spirit right at that moment and kept me from doing anything to him (and didn’t get myself kicked out of school either) he said to me, “you are the ugliest person I have ever seen.” I know this is an awful thing to say now, being 30 and all, I wish I could go back and just knock him into the next week! Tyne’s hand got infected and yucky and it had to have hurt and I didn’t do anything!! I know that should be the parent’s place to do something, but I feel that as the older sister, and having been there, I should have knocked his block off. Even now, when I see him, I want to go smash his nose and then ask him if he remembers that day and tell him that was for my sister. It’s so sad that I can’t let that go and I am still so angry and passionate about it. Guilt. That is what I feel when I think of this story.

Our birthdays are 4 days apart. Mine is April 10th and hers is the 14th. If you notice, hers is the day before tax day. Now, I am not sure if that is the reason for the occurrence or not, but my birthday was forgotten. I remember on more than one occasion, someone would give her a gift and turn to me and say, “isn’t your birthday around this time?” I would nod and say, “yes, it was 4 days ago.” We would go over to our grandparent’s house and they would have her gift and my grandma on more than one occasion would have to scramble for a gift for me. I even remember once that Tyne’s name was on the cake and my name was obviously squeezed in on the bottom. I always said it was better me than her, but that doesn’t mean that it is fun to be forgotten. I was envious that she was remembered and I was forgotten.

Earlier I spoke of our looks when we were younger. It got even worse for me when we got older. Here is this cute little girl, with big, brown eyes, she never seemed very gangly, always proportioned pretty good (just always very skinny while I have always been “curvy”), this very cute straight nose (it’s my dad’s nose), darker complexion skin, and perfectly straight teeth. Everything I have always wanted. I had frizzy hair, freckles, glasses, braces, pale, big feet, you name it.

Regarding our family relationships, she was a daddy’s girl. I am more like my mom and she is more like my dad. My mom and I always got along and Tyne and my dad always got along. I was so jealous of how well they got along, mostly because, for the longest time, I was under the assumption that my dad hated me. Now that I am older, I understand that he just didn’t know how to relate with me nor I with him, so we just decided without realizing it to ignore each other. Even now, they still understand each other very well, and she is such a better daughter than I have ever been. She is always there and even though she may not have the time or the energy, she makes the time and energy to help out.

I have always been kind of selfish. I am learning the value of my family, friends, and how to put myself in others’ places. I have been awful at that for most of my life. This selfishness and inability to put myself in others’ shoes has been one of the reasons for our falling out. We are both awfully reactionary and I really have been an awful sister to her. More Guilt.

One instance was the clothes thing. We both liked each others clothes but didn’t want each other to wear them. We couldn’t ask because the other would say no, so we would sneak into each others rooms and steal them. Then when we would sneak into each others rooms to get our own clothes back, we’d then scream at the other. We both did it, we were both guilty of it, I don’t know if one did it more than the other, and at this point, that is moot, but now I think it is kind of weird that we got so violently angry over something stupid like clothes. I guess that’s pretty normal for sisters to do.

We have always had issues with boys between the two of us. I had a boyfriend that tried to put the moves on my sister, and by the time that that happened, she didn’t dare tell me because she didn’t think that I would listen to her. That really hurt me. I feel so awful that I made myself so unavailable to her.

Another problem we had was her high school boyfriend. He didn’t like me and I didn’t like him. At the time, I couldn’t believe that she would choose her boyfriend over me, but now that I am older, I understand. I think all girls choose their boyfriends over all others at least once in their dating lives. I felt the need to protect her so I totally “mothered” her. “Tyne, don’t do this, Tyne, don’t do that” and of course she is going to do exactly what I told her not to do. Also, I was pretty hypocritical about it, I was doing all of the things that I told her not to do, but I figured that I wasn’t going to get hurt or do anything too stupid. Not that she would have or did, but I wanted to make sure she didn’t get hurt. I know now that it didn’t come off that way, it came off that I was a nag and trying to be too motherly when I didn’t have the right to do so.

We did hang out in high school. We had a lot of the same friends. My friends became hers and I think to some extent her became mine. I know I was a little jealous of her that she dated a guy I had a huge crush on at one time. I didn’t when they dated, but I was still jealous that she was able to date him and I couldn’t. Now I am thankful that it turned out the way that it did. I was a little hypocritical of things, I wanted to be her friend, and I liked having her friends as mine if they wanted, but I didn’t want any of my friends to be hers. I always figured that they would figure out that she was the more fun of the two and I would slowly be wedged out. Of course that never happened, and she was always very great and it was always a ton of fun, but I am sure that is part of the adolescent insecurity.

When she turned 17, she got pregnant with Tytan. I don’t think I ever passed judgement… I am not sure though, we have never really talked about it. I am pretty open about most things and I believe she would choose the route with this baby that was best for her. She did not prove me wrong. She had this cute little baby and has raised him and he is one of my favorite little kids. I wasn’t very supportive of her pregnancy though. I never asked her how she was doing, I never offered to go to the doctor with her, I am pretty sure I didn’t even get her a baby gift. That would be me: selfish, self-centered at the time. I was working the day she had him and I at least went to see her when she was in the hospital. I contribute a lot of this “unsupportive” behavior to being so unready to have kids myself and none of my friends had any, so I didn’t know how to be supportive. Then, when she got married, I wasn’t very good about calling and going over and helping her. I never offered to take her kids so she could just have a day to herself. I never bothered to help. Again, I didn’t know.

The story is the same when Tyler was born, so I don’t need to go into it, but it’s embarrassing to say I didn’t learn from my mistakes. I didn’t know they were mistakes. I didn’t really know how to be a very good sister.

My sister then went through a very difficult time with a divorce and I couldn’t even be bothered to help her with that. I was in a bad relationship also and I hated how this guy acted toward her and my family and so I pretty much chose to avoid them to avoid him. Again, I had a boyfriend that was interested in my sister other than as my sister. I had a boyfriend that would go out of his way to get into her business and try to tell her what to do and it wasn’t very good advice I don’t think. He came off pushy and nagging and so she pretty much was polite to his face and then went home and ignored all he had told her.

So, it was about this point, I was realizing that I wanted to have more of a relationship with my sister and her family and I was very unsure how to go about doing this. When I finally broke up with this creep mentioned above, he was still visiting her at work and I hated it and felt awful that he wouldn’t go away.

I asked my youngest sister, Bethany, to move to Salt Lake and live with me. She had a little baby girl and I knew that she wanted to go to school and make something of herself. I didn't feel that Brigham was the best place for her to do that, so I offered to live with her and help her out while she was going to school. That was one of the best things I have done. We got to know each other and we now have a relationship we wouldn't have otherwise had.

I really wanted to find a house and have all us girls and kids living together, but what with Tyne's job in Brigham and my job in Salt Lake and Bethany going to school in Salt Lake, it wasn't to be.

I started having Tyne's two boys spend the night every once in a while, but we still didn't talk on the phone very often. I don't think we really got to a good place to start to mend our relationship until she was pregnant with her last baby and I got pregnant. To share that with her has really bonded us together more. I was able to call her and ask her questions about being pregnant and we could call and bitch about whatever was going on. Once Linus was born, I could call her and ask her advice on how to take care of this strange new addition to my family.

I now feel that she feels comfortable calling me to ask me to watch her boys (which I should add that I love to do). She invites us over to hang out at her house which I really enjoy doing. Just sitting and visiting with her reminds me of the good old days. I play with her babies, she plays with my baby, and it's a great time. She calls just to talk on occasion and I go to her work to visit.

We are slowly but surely repairing years of damage. I am so excited to see what the future holds for my sisters and I. I love that even after the bitter fighting when we were kids, all of us siblings are getting along and actually like each other and have become 3 of my favorite people!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It has taken me 30 years to figure out who I want to be.

It has taken me 30 years to figure out that I get to choose who my friends are.

It has taken me 30 years to figure out that I don't need everyone to like me.

I have spent a long time in a love/hate relationship with my jobs. I have finally learned the difference between taking pride in my job and working hard and taking my job way, way too seriously. I think it's important to take my job seriously to a point, but I was doing it to a fault. I was sacrificing the important "people" relationships. I finally took a job and decided that I was going to enjoy my work, enjoy my coworkers, and enjoy the patients. Trying to do the best that I could and let the rest just slide off my back like water off a duck. This time around at work I am loving it, other than the inevitable babysitter dilemmas.

I am not sure where my need to be liked by everyone comes from. I am going to say it comes from my mom. She too came to the same realization that I did, but not until after I learned this from her. I have had a lot of friends who were no good and I couldn't reach my full potential as a person. I have finally realized that just because someone is nice to me and wants to be friends, doesn't mean that I have to reciprocate. Therefore, I get to choose my friends. It's very liberating to feel this way. It's also very liberating to understand that just because I want to be friends with someone and they don't... well, oh well. That's ok.

I love I have been able to get back in contact with old friends that due to life I have lost track of. Most of them that I have lost contact with were good friends to me and I never appreciated it. Now that I am older and I know who I want to be, I definitely appreciate them and what they have to offer me as a person.

There is a fine line between not caring what people think of you and being obtuse and obnoxious about it. I think the first comes when you learn to love yourself and learn to be you and be respectful at the same time. The other happens either when you get old or when you are a combative teenager.

I normally have a very high learning curve... I feel that I have spent years and years making the same mistakes over and over. I have the social learning curve of an F student. It's slow and hard and it's been a long process but I am learning and really enjoying life.

I will give credit where it's due in this learning process. My husband, who wanted to be a sociology major until he figured he couldn't get a job, has taught me a great deal. Linus has taught me a great deal also. I have also learned to be a morning person to an extent. That, my friends, is a great feat.