Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 5

This post is part of a 30 day blog series.

Day 5: My siblings

This is where you get to learn how complicated...and family is. My family story is long, there is just no way around it. I have to go back about 55 years to tell it.

When my mom was 18, she was dating a man and got pregnant. As was often the case in the 50's, when an unwed mother was pregnant she was moved to another community to have the baby so nobody would know. My mom moved down to the cities, and when the baby...a girl...was born she was placed for adoption. She never told anyone.

It wasn't long before she and my dad met. My brother Lynn was born just before their 1 year anniversary, followed 19 months later by my sister Sandie, then 7 1/2 years later by me, and we all lived happily ever after!

But wait, you read this post, and now you're confused, right? SO WERE WE!!!!

When I was around 15 or so, while digging around in boxes I had no business being in, I stumbled upon some confusing information about my mom. She referred to having 4 children, but...there were only 3 of us. In my young mind I decided she'd had another baby who'd died. Then when I was 17 and getting into my own trouble, my mom, in an attempt to use shocking news to set me straight, told me that she'd had a baby she placed for adoption. HA! The answer to the secret was revealed. But I was a cool cucumber, and not about to let on to mom that I knew anything. I gave no response, which left HER very confused. LOL She expected questions, instead I gave her the cold shoulder. She thought I hated her.

Just two months later, in my senior year of high school, I came home from school one day and my mom met me at the door. "I got a letter today." She said. You see, my mom had always kept her adoption records open. All those years, any time she moved, she contacted Lutheran Social Services and gave them the new address just in case her daughter ever wanted to contact her. This day a letter had arrived saying her daughter wanted to meet her. We met my sister Ila, and her baby Adam 2 months later. Ila has been a part of our family ever since.

So now I had a new sister Ila, my brother Lynn and my sister Sandie. We're still short one sibling, aren't we?

I was 20 years old, married, and had just had my first baby when Lynn, Sandie and I were called to dinner at my parent's home. There was another secret to tell....

When Dad met my mom, he'd been engaged to another woman and the wedding was right around the corner.  Dad broke off the engagement, and many family discussions with his parents ensued! A few weeks later the other woman told him she was pregnant. Dad didn't believe her and refused to go ahead with the wedding, and instead married my mom a couple months later. About a year down the road my grandmother called my dad. She'd just seen that baby and, having had 11 children who shared familial traits, there was no doubt in her mind that baby was my dad's. No contact was ever made, and the issue was dropped (but not forgotten!)

So here we were, many years later, having been summoned to dinner. My dad  had a son. Jeff. Dad had already met him, and we were going to meet him the following week. Meeting Jeff was a little freaky. It was like meeting my dad when he was 28 years old. Jeff is JUST like my dad and my brother Lynn. He is very close to our family, and sometimes we forget that we weren't raised together.

Now you know how all my siblings came to be, let me tell you a little about each one.

Ila, my oldest sister, is....50-something. (I won't tell her secrets. LOL) She is married to Bob, and they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. She lives out of state. Ila has done a fantastic job of raising her children who are all now adults and on their own. Her kids and her family were her priority, and it shows.  I haven't gotten to see her for a couple of years. We used to talk all the time and I miss our long talks!

Jeff is next in line at 52 (I think.)  He is a programming engineer for a local T.V. broadcasting station. He is married to J'Lynne. Oh wait, I forget that's not her name. It's really "Lynne", but we already had a Lynn and got tired of referring to her as "Jeff's Lynne" all the time, so within a very short time she was renamed "J'Lynne". The have been married for (12?) years. Jeff and J'Lynne tried unsuccessfully for many years to have children. Then J'Lynne was diagnosed with MS. They have a beautiful home and an adorable toy poodle Miko.

Then there is Lynn. Also  52. (this is where my mom says people are not allowed to do the math!) He has had an interesting life, much of which I'm not at liberty to share. LOL He has never been married, and as far as we know he doesn't have any children. LOL Lynn now lives on my parents' property and does a lot of the grounds keeping. (there is a lot to do!) He recently had a health scare that caused him to make some dramatic changes in his life. My parents LOVE having him living on the property. (not in the main house.)  He gets SO much done there, and is really a blessing to them. There are some perks that come with living with Mom and Dad though, and my sister and I are trying to figure out if there is room for us to live up there too.

Next up is my sister Sandie. She started her own blog based on her age, so I'm allowed to say she turned 50 last year. Sandie has nine children. Yes nine. There is a his/mine thing, plus the four she and her ex husband adopted. Sandie is married to Bob, and she has 7 grand children. (Gasp! How did my sister become a grandmother to 7????) and I'm sure there are many more to come.

Then there is me, and you know all about me already! LOL We've learned over the years that being called to dinner could possibly mean there is another secret coming out of the closet, but you know what? We sure love our family! Considering all the different influences, our family could very well be a dysfunctional one, but it's not. We can communicate with each other, and we don't argue. We don't always agree, those things certainly don't stop us from supporting one another. It's because of my family that, when I started dating after my divorce, I wouldn't bother with anyone who didn't have a good relationship with his own family. Dean loves his family as much as I love mine!

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