Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Family Matters

At Tradie Brother's barbe on Sunday, we were presented with a box of a dozen bottles of wine. They are from your step mother's sister, said T Bro. Maybe Step Mother's sister came to my father's funeral in 2000, but I can't remember. Otherwise, my memory of her dates back to the mid 1970s.

She was perhaps late thirties and I must have been eighteen. She was drunk and I had drunk a couple of beers and was slightly tipsy. After she very accurately (I can't get the word right, so) mentally analysed me, we kissed passionately. Is it right for a father's girl friend's sister to kiss his niaeve son? I care not. It was nice and nothing came of it, and it was never mentioned. But I certainly took a reflective view of her and respected her for cleverness and in spite of probably being an alcoholic, always functioning pretty well and being ever so clever and smart.

I rang Step Mother today. She had a dog breeding meeting to go out to last night. She is in her mid seventies and the comparison between her high functioning in society and personally, and Mother's life, is like chalk and cheese. It is Step Mother's birthday. Her partner was in town getting her driving lights birthday present fitted. She was busy on a machine making track suits to sell at the local market. She made some for Little Jo when she was younger. My late Father certainly switched from a dependant woman, Mother, to a very strong and competent one.

Step Mother updated me on her sister. A son she had who she was only vaguely aware of from when he was born turned up. He is twenty five and works in a winery. So that is where our wine gift came from. Oddly, Step Mother only said her nephew. I knew who he was from a chat with Tradie Brother yesterday.

Step Mother's sister must be in her early seventies now. She lives in a town outside Griffith in NSW.

It was recently flooded. Her house and furniture are ruined and the town is going to take a class action against the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Authority as the town only received one hour's evacuation notice of the flooding and it seems a nearby town was saved by diverting water into a channel that sent all the water to her town, which has never flooded in the past.

Her insurance paid for a week in a motel in Griffith and then after prioritising families with children, put her in a one bedroom unit. Take that as a personal of flood victims in northern Victoria and southern to mid New South Wales.

In some ways I have a big family but the immediate family is small. But the big family would be all there if I was to make an effort.

A couple of days ago Victor  posted a photo of his parents' grave. His mother died two years ago. I tried to think of something to write as a comment, but I could not. The grave marking was tastefully simple, his parents and mentioning their son Victor.

I feel sad for Victor who has friends but no family, who are not a choice but a connection.

I suppose I will see Step Mother's sister again at some time, like at a funeral, but I will really make a big effort to connect with her.


  1. My sister in law became a widow 18months ago. She moved to Melbourne to be near her brother this January, but her sense of loss and grief is still too terrible to watch.

    Hang on tightly to the family you have, for as long as you have them.

  2. What Hels said.
    I'm having my first family dinner on Friday, since my sister returned from South Africa. Even my Dad's partner is supposedly coming. Hmmm.

  3. My head hurts trying to connect the dots of your extended family....

  4. I like reading about your evry large family.
    You probably don't think it's so large but compared to mine, it is. I have a sister and a brother still living, a half brother I've never met, the four kids and the five grandkids. That's it. Unless you want to add in two ex-husbands.

    I think step mother sounds lovely, so "alive".

  5. Are you hoping for another kiss from Step Mother's sister Andrew...!!

  6. Can't families get complicated .... second and third marriages, divorces, adoptions, step brothers, sisters, sons and daughters? I've had a bit of that and my brain's shut down on it all. On the plus side, lots of lovely people can become family.

  7. Sorry for her Hels. It is odd how the death of the partner knocks some people for a six and others cope very well.

    Fen, you will say all nice things, won't you?

    Kath, even I get lost with it all at times.

    River, ours is quite large mostly because of divorce and one family turning into two. Yours does sound very manageable.

    Grace, not at all. I wonder what she looks like now.

    Bliss, very much the same case for our family. We do what we do and don't fret about the rest.

  8. Your family connections dazzle me Andrew. As you indicate it is all so different from my situation.

  9. Victor, it is also odd to me how families fight. Ours, the inner or the greater never do, well not with us. While I can't say I envy you, at times family can be very intrusive ven I vant to be alone.