Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Birthday, Sis

My kid sister is turning 40 tomorrow.

So it's with a few reservations that I'm heading back to Adelaide tomorrow morning.

Regular readers will know that my sister, affectionately referred to as Manhands, and I don't have the closest of relationships. It's not that we don't get or or like each other, it's just that we're completely at opposite ends of every spectrum know to man.

Politically we're opposite (she votes Liberal because they're the family party - I wouldn't piss on Tony Abbott if he was on fire, my politics being in a more socialist vein)
She did all the things you're supposed to do - get married, buy a house, live in the suburbs, have kids and  a Golden Retriever and a mortgage - I've done none of that.
My sister's only been to New Zealand (family holiday when we were teenagers) Tahiti for her honeymoon and Bali for their tenth wedding anniversary. I've travelled the globe.
She didn't go to university or tertiary education - I did.
She had a boyfriend from when she was in first year high school and has always had a boyfriend/fiance/ husband - I never went that route never having a boyfriend for more than a few months at a time.
She's a blonde. I'm a brunette. 
She doesn't read books. I do.
She doesn't go to movies or plays much at all. I do.
She's into things. I'm into experiences.
She got on with my parents as a teenager. I didn't.

The list goes on and on. Other than we talk with similar inflections in our speech and if you look at us, you can see similarities, we'd never be seen as sisters.

She's never been in my flat. She's never visited me - then again, I don't have kids and I've got disposable income so I can get away cheaply and easily. I tend to call her. I can't remember the last time she phoned for a chat.

To be honest, if we weren't sisters, we wouldn't know each other. Other than sharing parents we really don't have much in common.

I don't have any photos of us together - then again, very few people have photos of me. My sister is the one who's happy to be in front of the camera - I take the pictures.

There were a lot of disparities between the way my sister and I were treated by my parents, but that's water under the bridge - and I don't really feel like rehashing it. I've spent years in counselling over it. It's done with.

I've no idea what her favorite bands or music is. I'm pretty sure that she would say the same of me.

So it feels a bit strange that I'm travelling back to Adelaide to go to her fortieth birthday party. Mum's told me that we're going to be serving food and drink for the night.


JD, my step-sister, will be coming for a bit, which is good - I'll have somebody to talk, even if it is only for a short time - JD and I know very few of my sister's friends, just as she knows very few of mine. When she came to my fortieth a few years ago she was very much a fish out of water. At least I have a job to do tomorrow night to keep me occupied.

Then later in the evening, my Mum and step-dad and my nieces will go back to Myponga for the night, then early-ish the next morning we'll return to Adelaide and then I'll board a plane back to home to Melbourne.

I know this is stiring stuff up in me - I just can't quite put my finger in what it is. I'm here with a very unusual glass of wine.

I think I will have another.

I just hope she has a lovely birthday.

Happy birthday, Manhands. xx

p.s. Why refer to my sister as Manhands? Well, she's my height, about the same size as me, but her hands are what appears to be double the size of mine. They're certainly not ugly, but she has big hands. And feet - which is a bonus as she can always find shoes on sale - being a standard size 8.5 (39 in European sizes) this never happens for me.


Jackie K said...

You're doing the right thing going and she will appreciate it. So will your mum. Hope you have a good or at least not bad time.
Nice post.

Kath Lockett said...

I'm with Jackie - she will appreciate you being there, and, being a serving wench will give you something to do - it's always my standby if I'm shy or feel out of place....

I think I have Manhands too - big oven mitts that can carry a dozen eggs at a time....

magical_m said...

Wow - that post could be written about my brother and I. Point for point. Polar opposites. Maybe it's an Adelaide thing?! Good luck! :)

Pandora Behr said...

Yes, all will be well. I'm doing the right thing. And you're right Kath, serving wench is a good fallback - you always find me in the kitchen at parties - unless I'm out with the boys by the barbeque escaping the talk of babies, children and school feels. (One of the few times I miss smoking is at parties - no pariahs to join you outside to chat with)

Magical M - it's not just an Adelaide things - it's a universal sibling thing that happens.

Pandora Behr said...

And Kath - you're hands aren't a patch on my sisters - and they are very nice hands, so be kind to yourself... px