Bitch on the Blog

September 25, 2016

What a pity

Filed under: Family — bitchontheblog @ 14:19
Tags: , , ,

Loosely linking in with my last post, the enchantment of being the eldest sibling.

What “only” children and eldest have in common that they came first. It’s indisputable. And in the latter case you will be resented – by those who come later.

Do I understand? Not really. But that’s because I AM the eldest (by a long margin) and have never had to walk in anyone’s steps.

My brother (number three in the line up) isn’t difficult. He is affable. My two sisters? Well, since they are my sisters I shan’t say what I really think. Except that when I have my mother (age 83) on the phone weeping over her youngest daughter’s negligence I feel like going ballistic. Obviously, that won’t help. So I don’t. But what do I do? What can be done?

My first instinct, but I am too far removed (geographically), to bang my fist on the table and ask questions. My sisters aren’t ticking alright. Both of them in their own way. Though one of them (the much adored by me till she sold me for a shilling) my parents always excuse. I understand my parents. I don’t condone it. But I understand. In all our lives there are people who get away with something close to murder.

Back to my youngest sister. She herself is the mother of four children – yet finds it in her heart to make that of her own mother a misery. How this will pan out once we gather around a grave I do not know.

I can see it now. They’ll be looking to me.









  1. And as the eldest, you will do what all eldests do. Wade into whatever is the trouble and solve the problem/s.

    Comment by rummuser — September 25, 2016 @ 14:31 | Reply

    • Indeed, Ramana. The eldest’s destiny. Take care of everything. Which is fine. It’s how it should be.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 25, 2016 @ 16:27 | Reply

    • agree with Rummuser…and you won’t have your Mother nearby for your siblings to use to over-ride your advice. But whether they take that advice is another matter all together.

      Comment by cedar51 — September 27, 2016 @ 19:42 | Reply

  2. I am the eldest by 10 and 11 years – a generation of differences. For most of our collective adult lives we have lived miles apart and enjoyed little contact with each other save for my sister and my involvement with youth soccer in our hometown. While I am sure my athletic achievements were always held out to them as examples – and in fact my little (6’3 280 lb) brother surpassed every level I achieved, that is about it. I alone earned a college degree – as did 2 of my brother’s 3 daughters. – Time and circumstances as well as geography dictated they assume greater contact with our dad in his retirement and they will assume responsibility for him if he passes away before me. My dad and I had a long conversation about our passing andboth agreed we would not be present for “services” simply because we live on opposite coasts and it would be a waste of money. In my case there will be no service – just a quick cremation. We also tend to deal with our family issues separately. Still, we are – my siblings and I – fairly close.

    Comment by shackman — September 25, 2016 @ 15:35 | Reply

    • You and your siblings are “fairly close”. That’s good. My siblings and I aren’t any longer. The last seven years of my life, in that respect, a disappointment I never anticipated. I have cried a river and then some. Wish I’d drowned them at birth – instead of investing so much of my emotions into them. I have no idea what happened. That they don’t talk to each other either is no comfort. If anything it’s worse.

      You mention “services”. I so agree. Let’s take care of each other when still alive. The dead won’t notice you not standing at their grave side.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 25, 2016 @ 16:24 | Reply

  3. 3 of 5. The middle-est ones are generally not noticed unless we do something drastic. Attention grabbing actions are to be avoided, however, since they result in a backlash from all quarters. Thus, the best course of action is to simply embrace anonymity and remain inconspicuous. No responsibilities. No expectations. No spoiling. No excessive attention. On the other hand, my mother sent me a birthday card a few weeks ago, so I haven’t been able to completely stay under the radar.

    Comment by Looney — September 25, 2016 @ 23:11 | Reply

    • Number three of five. My dear Looney, that figures. You have an air of going with the flow. And you are right, middle children have a “choice” (not really – but in theory): They either “choose” the easy way, what you call “flying under the radar” or playing up big time. Obviously, these days family size shrinking, but I am old enough to remember (and still witness) the dynamics within large families. Oh my god. THE DRAMA.

      All I know is that I am so happy that I am in the line up where I am. I don’t have to fight for or against anything or anyone. However, what I do have to pull off and currently miserably failing is a Kissinger. The diplomat. Whereas once upon a time I’d pull my toddler siblings onto my lap, wipe tears and explain the whole shit hole to them and how to make it better – now they are past a certain age forget it. If people don’t let you help them they are beyond help.


      PS Cherish your mother’s birthday cards. I do. I dread the day her handwriting won’t plop through my letter box any longer.

      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 27, 2016 @ 21:15 | Reply

  4. I was the eldest of two when our parents divorced in the ’56 to ’58 time period. Then my dad married a younger lady — who had actually babysat the two us years earlier — and, then, they had four more kids. In ’63ish they moved to California and I heard almost nothing from Dad. Ten years later, on our way to Connecticut for me to report to my sub, we stopped to visit my grandparents in Nebraska only to find that Dad and family had moved back. It was the first time I “met” the two youngest who hadn’t been born in ’63. (Jess was born in ’66 and Melia a couple years later). I didn’t see any of them for another 22 years and, again, there was very little communication between Dad and me.

    While I was the oldest, I had no opportunity to be the “big brother” that I know I could have been for the four youngest and other circumstances made it difficult for me to be helpful for my other sister. Among all of the things from my not-so-normal-for-the-times childhood, I think this is one that I most regret. (ah, I need to stop dwelling on what never was.)

    Comment by Mike Goad — September 26, 2016 @ 01:24 | Reply

    • Once or twice in my life I, fleetingly, wished for an older brother. Note: Not sister, BROTHER. That’s gender stereotyping for you. Or, as the Angel would say: “It’s primal, Mama”. Man, the protector.

      I remember, must have been about seventeen or so, “adopting” one of the slightly older guys on the school’s playground as my brother. In truth, he was an elevated bodyguard. He took his job seriously – and we had a great time. Loved him, in the way you love a brother. Unconditionally. And I felt safe.

      I am sure you’d have made a great “big brother” to your half siblings. You come across as caring and considerate. Yet, Mike, without opportunity being given, we can’t do what we potentially could.

      Your father …? Did you miss him? Or did you manage to shrug his absence off/accept it without much soul searching?


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 27, 2016 @ 22:05 | Reply

      • I was so young — 3, maybe 4 — when my parents split that I don’t remember Dad as part of my day-to-day life.

        I had surrogates, though. My grandmother and her second husband were always there for my sister and I, especially — yes, this gets even better — after my mom left us behind to chase after her 2nd hubby (Mr. Mitchell). We had moved 90 miles southeast that summer after they got married — funny, I don’t remember a wedding — a few weeks before things fell apart. I was 10 and my sister had just turned 8. I remember making the phone call — on a pay phone, of course — to my grandmother. I ended up staying with them 5 years, my sister 4 years. During the early part of that, I did spend a week or two with my dad, step-mom and 2 younger siblings. They had moved 100 miles west. (I did spend the summer in Houston in ’65 with Mom and her 4th? hubby, but went back to Nebraska. The next year, my sister went down to spend the summer like I had, only she refused to return.)

        I found out years later that Dad and my stepmom wanted us to live with them permanently. However, my grandmother told them it wasn’t going to happen and that she had legal custody. She didn’t. (I couldn’t check with her on this as she died in ’76 and my step-grandfather passed in ’93, two years before I reconciled things with Dad.)

        Funny, through social media, primarily, I am the only one of the six who gets along with all the others.

        Comment by Mike Goad — September 28, 2016 @ 00:08 | Reply

  5. I, too am an eldest and the relationships with my sibs are fraught with landmines and shunning (not me, them). A multi generational history of shunning in my father’s gene pool gladly taken up by the bros. – all 4 of them. I can’t behave myself well enough for them. My sister and I have a fragile relationship as she hangs with the bros, no matter how abusive they are towards me.

    My emotional bucket is all drained out, I spent far too much of my life worrying about their motherless condition and if I had my life over…….


    Comment by wisewebwoman — September 26, 2016 @ 18:49 | Reply

    • When you say “motherless” … do you mean you were orphaned quite early? It is one thing to be the eldest daughter and your mother’s right hand, it’s another to having to try and replace that mother.

      It is so strange, WWW.

      Having read your blog and comments you leave there and elsewhere for some time, my heart goes out to you. Someone once said to me: “Your life is one of loss”. I was surprised. Had never seen it like that, still don’t. Obviously people fall by the wayside, maybe even your pride takes a kicking. One of two demises that affected me deeply was my grandmother’s death when I was eight. Yet, following your “story” line I’d say it’s your life that appears full of “loss”. It is to your infinite credit that you cope, with all your ups and downs, as well as you do.



      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 27, 2016 @ 21:46 | Reply

  6. First borns have a sense of entitlement that figures

    Comment by John going gently — September 26, 2016 @ 22:15 | Reply

    • “Entitlement”, John? Maybe. I believe it’s more intricate than that. I call it confidence. Or, in my mother’s words “Ursula, where do you take your chutzpah from?”. Being a lot older than my siblings I had what I believe the best of two worlds. Namely being, technically and in psychological terms, an only, to then become a responsible eldest. Three times over in relatively quick succession. I was my mother’s right hand, her deputy as it were. And I loved it. Never saw it as a burden. Neither did I compete with my siblings as the three competed among each other. I remember shaking my head at their squabbles and their insatiable need to compete for my mother’s affection. And that is my one and, possibly resented by them, advantage that I never had to compete for anything. Headstart as it were.

      Your own lineup a rather interesting one. If I remember correctly you are a twin with an older sister. A TWIN! John, the very thought freaks me out. Worst case scenario: there are TWO of me. No thanks. Even I can cope with only so much.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 27, 2016 @ 21:16 | Reply

  7. I’m the eldest child, my sister is two years younger. She was always my father’s favourite as she faithfully reflected all his opinions, while I argued with him about virtually everything. She’s probably my mother’s favourite as well. But I’m the one who keeps in touch with my mother because my sister has had motor neurone disease for ten years and is incapable of looking after her in any way. Luckily my mother is still fairly fit and healthy and doesn’t need much looking after.

    Comment by nick — September 27, 2016 @ 10:45 | Reply

    • Interesting, Nick. The question of the “favourite” child. Can’t remember now who of my siblings asked my mother this question. She wasn’t to be drawn. She said she didn’t have a favourite. And I believe her. She is one of those people with no guile, just a sort of you get what you see. And what you see is an almost bred in the bone innocence. Ironically, the current dilemma is that my youngest sister (she might not even be aware of it) has managed to make herself the center point of the whole family. My parents are bleeding at her utterly refusing herself at what is a late stage in my parents’ life. Why? I don’t know. No one knows. I am trying. But it’s hard work. Never mind. People sometimes get off the well proven path, only to dig their heals in when they are caught out. I am torn in between shaking my sister and taking her into my arms. There, there. Everything will be fine (the latter being my mantra).

      In your case, the very fact that your sister isn’t “well” creates its own dynamic. As to favourite, Nick, I’d be careful. I am not saying this by way of false comfort for you but fact is, in my opinion, we gel with some people more than others. And that applies to parents and children too – no matter how many parents deny it to be so. Gelling with someone is not to be equated with how much someone loves you. I am sure if push had come to shove your father would have done anything for you. Then there is the gender thing. A young boy/man measuring himself against and challenging his father.

      I will give the whole subject more thought – till then,

      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 27, 2016 @ 21:31 | Reply

  8. I’m the baby – and by the time I was old enough to make decisions the other siblings had their own lives – and then I got my own life and I lived in another country until I returned to NZ in the mid 70s – but by then parents had gone, and all us siblings had very little to do with one another.

    Now there is only the eldest and me the baby left – and we are miles apart in age that what she needs v mine are nowhere near advice. We are in the same city but we rarely see one another – but I try to phone once a week…

    Comment by cedar51 — September 27, 2016 @ 19:45 | Reply

    • Yes, I remember you saying you were “the baby”. I hope it didn’t cause you the resentment it now does my youngest sister. The few times I have spoken to her since she blew up with my/our parents she paints herself in a way I do not recognize. We might as well have lived two different childhoods, in two different families.

      Keep it up with your sister, Catherine. Bonds we form in childhood are strong bonds indeed.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 27, 2016 @ 22:10 | Reply

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