Janet Taylor
October 12, 2017

Image Credit: ©GeneGlavitsky - Deposit Photos

Siblings

I have always wondered what toll this is taking on my other two children.

How do you deal with having an older sister you never see? How do you deal with having a sister who uses drugs and having  to see her when she is high? How do you feel when she tells you that she loves you, but she doesn't keep her promises to you? How do you love a sister you get to see a couple times a year in person but almost everyday on social media? How do you feel when you go to school all day and know she doesn't? How do you look for your first job when your sister is handed $1100.00 a month for being "sick"? How do you stay away from drugs and alcohol when she is using almost daily...with no consequences?

That is just the tip of the icebergs of questions they've asked me. I've held my youngest daughter in my arms while she's cried because her sister said she'd take her to get her nails done and never shows up. I've seen my quiet, reserved son freak out in anger because she's taking something of his that she wasn't allowed to during her "couple hour" visit.

I've asked them if they want to talk to someone to help maybe sort out their feelings. I've offered to get them support or couselling or whatever they could possibly need. I've asked them how I can help them deal with this hand they've been dealt.

Maybe they are just dealing with it better than I give them credit. Maybe they are sadly used to how things are and have just adapted. Maybe they are keeping it all inside and its killing them slowly. I fear the latter. I fear any pain they maybe going through that I cannot protect them from. I cannot even fathom having an older sibiling yet alone that that sibling be a mentally ill drug addict with a grade 9 eduaction.

How do I really know that they are OK? How do I get them to open up when things are "normal" so I can see that tehy aren't breaking inside? How do I protect them from her lack of consequences and from wanting to follow what she is doing? Worse - how do I let them go to a party or "out with their friends" and not wonder if they too are using or drinking? How do I not let her behaviour make me paranoid?

I want the best for all my children. I want them to reach their goals and then set the bar even higher for the next goal. I want them to know that I love them unconditionally, no matter what they do. Then I turn around and "kick" their sister out of the house, and tell them to believe me when I say I would do anything for them. How does that work?

I am being the best parent I can be and not a day goes by where I wonder if that is even close to the truth.

Does tucking them in at night show them that? Does telling them I love them each and everytime I see them, show that unconditional love? Does helping them with their homework or making their lunches show them that I would do anythign to keep them safe? Can I even really keep them safe? That answer may be the most diffcult for me to answer. That answer fractures me up inside so deep that even I second guess myself.... I promised myself upon becoming a mom, that I would always keep my children safe. I haven't done that and I have to live with that everyday.....I know they love me to bits, but I need to be able keep them safe and this world today is making that a little harder.