Just Pick Up the Phone

by Pam Godwin

A sister is someone who knows everything about you and loves you anyway. – Author Unkown

Last week I heard on the news that a woman was suing her sister and Duke University over a pair of college basketball tickets. “How could family members get to the point of suing one another for basketball tickets?,” I thought to myself. The stupidity of it all confounded me.  And then, like so many times before, I thought about my own situation.  And I knew that it was time.  This time is was really just enough already.

Keeping up “my end” of the 52 project has been more challenging than usual lately and I know exactly why. I am definitely stuck because of something I have not been able to confront.  So before I can continue with fun, exciting, new, or inspirational to-do’s, this must be tackled. Call it facing a fear, working on relationships, looking within-whatever you want… but it is this week’s to-do and one of the most important ones I will ever check off my list.

About a year ago,  year my sister and I stopped talking.  I will tell you it is a thorny mess involving many players—and it gnaws at me on a daily basis. But figuring out how to repair this situation has not been simple for me. The easy answer would be to just reach out and call but it is never quite that easy, is it? The story is filled with he said’s-she said’s, jealousies, love, anger, frustration, husbands, brothers-in-laws, sisters-in-laws, parents, and everything in between.  And then, to make matters worse, my other sister and I stopped talking too.  Allegiance, confusion? Not sure why it all played out like this—but here we are at this awful point.

More often than not, I find myself just ignoring the entire issue. I cannot ignore it any longer.

My sisters and I have had a complicated relationship over the years, as I’m sure many sisters do. A little background – I am the (much) younger sister of identical twins who were the epitome, in my eyes at least growing up, of all that was picture perfect.  They protected me and cared deeply for me, but sometimes I think they were jealous of me as the baby sister who seemingly got it all. And yet I always felt the opposite was true.  Didn’t they realize that I didn’t have that special someone to whisper to in the middle of the night as they did while sharing a room growing up? Did they know I often felt alone or left out? I wonder.  Still, they were the ones I wouldn’t ever want to trade away.  Of course not – they are my sisters.  We grew up, they moved away (together!) and our lives became our own. Yet, whenever we get together, we revert back to the old patterns. It is as if we are eight and fifteen years old again — standing in the kitchen vying for the attention of mommy and daddy (who annoyed the crap out of us anyway!), arguing over the same things, and never really saying what we really want to say, both good and bad.

The domino effect is so apparent. Just as giving some time to oneself as Karen and I are trying to do every week inspires us and others in the end because your outlook changes, repairing this will obviously change things for the better too. It has affected my relationship with so many: with my mother, who is fraught and devastated by her daughters not getting along but who doesn’t know how to help; with my daughters, who know that something is up with Aunt A and Aunt B and who also have a “tricky” sister relationship that I cannot honestly address if I am not practicing what I preach and teaching them the importance of family bonds and ties; and with my husband, who is a part of the big equation as well.

One sister has not reached out yet and the other one has- and yet until this week, I could not bring myself to reach back. Fear was holding me back. Because of this, I find myself unable to move forward lately because it seeps into my thoughts daily even though I ignore fixing it.  Unfortunately, I know others very close to me who have also had falling-outs with their families and I have seen first hand what the disintegration of a family can do to a person. It just makes you feel really stuck. It can destroy a person. And I do not want that to happen to my family or me.

So I picked up the phone finally—and called my sister. Finally, I did it. Yes, she has sent me some text messages but it was the seemingly huge step of calling her that has paralyzed me.  My heart was pounding. Each ring on the end of the line seemed to last an eternity.  She wasn’t there but I left a heartfelt and honest message.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  I am sure she will call me back.  I hope so.  I will call my other sister as well and hope that she will welcome my call or at least respond back. It will take time I know, but it is one small step. I know this isn’t a quick fix.  I feel a little lighter by this incredible load that is beginning to lift and look forward rather than dread trying to call again.  Sometimes just picking up the phone can feel like the most difficult thing. I know it doesn’t seem like much but it can really change a million things. I hope in this case I am on the road to reconnecting and repairing my relationship with my sisters. They are, after all, my sisters.


This week’s Getting Unstuck Sticky Note:




commentLeave a Comment (2)  

categoryPosted: 07/24/11 11:00 PM

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen July 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I am proud of you partner! That call I know was tough to make.


Julia July 27, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Best of luck to you. I hope your sisters are receptive and you get back on track and can stay on track.
I have a sister who I had not spoken to for about 10 years. Around 3 years ago we slowly came to a place where we were civil and could talk. Never were close, ever, but we were OK. Sadly, for some reason unknown to me, she has some interest in reigniting the feud. I won’t engage in outright “warfare” but she is doing her best to sabotage our “peace”. She is also trying to turn my other sister. Life is too short for foolish fights but, life is also too short for toxic people, like my sister. I wish you the best and will follow with interest your progress. Hope your sisters are of the “non-toxic” variety. Good luck


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