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My Sister and I are Dating

This is a little story about mending relationships. And, I’m working on one with my sister right now. You might say we are dating.

There are four of us

If you’ve been following me for a while (read: years) you may not have realized that I have 3 sisters. You’ve seen me  share about my sister Elizabeth and Lea, but not Anita.

That’s because my sister Anita and I haven’t been as close.

Lea, Elizabeth, Anita & Maria

In fact, we haven’t spoken for 6 years.

We had one of those arguments that, back then, seemed like ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ kind of reason to not patch things up. And months of not speaking turned into years.

My Mom cried about it a lot.

She begged us to reconcile. But we were both too busy being right about our position. #stubborn

Good Karma

So, last summer I decided it was time to mend things. I couldn’t even remember why we weren’t speaking anymore. It felt ungenerous (so unlike me) to continue trying to justify why we couldn’t be a family again. 

Elizabeth, Anita (Luukas) Maria, Lea

The day I called my sister, my Mom was sitting in her living room beside her fireplace and suddenly the art fell off the wall above the mantel and brought every single glass item down to the floor with it. It was a sign.

She had shards all around her but she was unhurt. It took her an hour to pick enough shards out so she could call for help to clean up the mess.

And that was also the day our Mom declared our past Karma was broken.

Here’s my mom on her way to Mexico this week with friends. A happy Mama!

It feels like dating

Gingerly, we’d call each other to hang out. Each of us tip-toeing around the other. Worried that we might say something that would reactivate the other (like we had in the past).

One day, we went out for lunch. And I said, “I don’t think we’ve ever just had a casual lunch like friends do. It feels like we’re dating.”

My sister Anita is a very smart, articulate woman, and a good writer. She is also very nurturing, loving and funny, which I never noticed before (especially when I was filled with judgements).

She was in a writing class and a few weeks ago she sent me this letter she wrote:

When I read this letter, I realized she was right there all along. I’m happy we didn’t have to wait until we were 70 to patch things up and rekindle a relationship.

This was from my mom Hellen’s 60th Birthday (17 years ago). L to R: Maria, Lea, Anita and Elizabeth

Last weekend my sister Anita had us all over for Easter Dinner. She is a gourmet cook and she made red cabbage gazpacho. It was delicious.

And that weekend we also did some rearranging of her artwork and added some lamps (always lamps). 

I’m so happy we are a sisterhood of four again! 

Anita, Elizabeth, Lea and Maria

I love you sweet Anita! Thanks for taking me back!

Related posts:

Anita’s Living Room Makeover; Before & After

My Mom’s English Garden Inspired Sunroom Reveal

Elizabeth’s Beachy Blue Patio Refresh: Before & After

46 Comments

  • Cathryn says:

    So lovely!

    2
  • Nancy says:

    Aww, this made me teary…I think we often forget influencers have real issues in life as well. I lost my sister to a terrible illness 6 years ago…cherish every minute, you never know when life can change in an instant.

    15
  • Denebola says:

    Maria, I am one of four sisters and also have a fractured relationship with one of mine. Your story gives me great hope and courage. Thank you so very much for sharing your story.

    13
  • Kimberly says:

    This post was the most heart warming post I have seen in a long time. I used to have family that would do that. Not speak to another because they felt they had been wronged. Then neither is willing to take the first step towards reconciling. A close friend is going through the same thing with her two sons. One son feeling inferior to another. It’s so sad and my friend cries a lot over it. One son refusing to attend the others wedding and excluded family when he married. It’s heart breaking. And there may not be chances for reconciliation. Seize today and reach out to mend a broken relationship. Life is short. I know as I lost my 20 yr old son in a wreck. No regrets though i told him I loved him everyday

    12
  • Lisa says:

    Thank you.

    4
  • Cynthia says:

    Maria
    Thank you for being transparent and sharing this. My “ mother heart” was broken for your mom and what she must have been going through, but oh the joy of knowing you are mending your relationship. I pray your sisterhood is like “kintsugi” the Japanese art of repairing; repaired beautifully and stronger.❤️❤️❤️❤️

    5
  • BElinda Lee says:

    OMG – I am so happy for you. I cried reading this. I also had a volatile relationship with my sister. We finally made up this year after not speaking for three years. I missed making so many memories with her because of our fight. And worse yet, our kids missed out too. So happy for you and your sister and your family. You are such a beautiful soul Maria xx

    3
  • Joanna says:

    Life is too short to hold onto grudges. Whatever happened between the two of is happily resolved but I imagine it is still tentative. May I say, you can be bossy. You might want to curb that urge to boss people (ie her bear picture). I believe you had a split with Elizabeth over gifting too generous. That can make an individual feel less. I’m happy for you both!
    My sister and I had a few years of strive over the will. She was the executor and didn’t want to probate. After many years, we are now sisters again. I gave up my share to bend fences.

    1
  • Cindi says:

    If I had known, I would have told you a story about siblings. I had 3 sisters and a brother. My dad didn’t get along with his family, and always said; “You don’t have to like your family just because they are blood.” But most of us kids got along growing up (except my older sister and I who were polar opposite and “hated” each other). In my 20’s I moved to the other side of the country and kept mostly to myself. Then my younger brother died suddenly at 26, and a younger sister a couple years later. Needless to say, the rest of us learned quickly how wrong my dad was.
    Now, 3 decades later, I will add this. You may think you have friends, but (knock on wood) if you ever face a tragedy like getting cancer, you may be surprised what happens to your friends. But I can guarantee who will stand with you. Siblings are forever.

    5
  • Lana Smith says:

    I also have a sister that won’t talk to me. She is 13 years younger than me and we had another sister between us but she died. So it’s just the two of us. And she’s mad at me and has blocked me and refuses to talk to me. And I don’t know what to do. I would change it if I could but I do not know what to do.

    3
  • billp says:

    Congratulations for having the courage to make that call. Thank you for sharing the journey with all of us.

    5
  • Linda Fitzgerald says:

    Why oh why do we let our egos dictate our happiness? The sense of relief you both must be feeling is now a part of your reward for being brave. The wisest words I’ve ever read are in a little book called, “The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the agreements and in my opinion, the most important is “Don’t Make Assumptions.” Have the courage to ‘ask’ instead of creating unnecessary mis-understandings, sadness and dramas. It usually turns out NOT to be what you’ve been imagining all this time. With just this one agreement, you can change your life — looks like that’s exactly what has happened.

    I love your analogy of ‘dating’ your sister and the Karma ending incident with your mother.. Perfect. You are all so beautiful..

    Linda
    Southampton, ON

    5
  • KIM says:

    SO WONDERFUL!!

    2
  • Mary says:

    Thank you for this. I have a sibling that I haven’t spoken with in some time. Perhaps this is inspiration for me.

    4
  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and personal story!

    2
  • Carol C Foster says:

    Oh my gosh Maria, what a wonderful post! I am happy for you and your sister, and your family. I loved her letter as well! Good for both of you to be brave and let the past and any differences behind you, hopefully to enjoy happier days ahead. Every family likely often has a member who steps out (true in ours as well!) but forgiveness and moving forward can be a key to happiness amongst loved ones.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Carol from San Diego

    3
  • Mimi Goldberg Shulman says:

    I was crying while I read this. Thank you so much for sharing and being transparent, Maria. The rewards of courage and reconciliation seem wonderful for you both. In her wisdom, your mom was able to feel it coming. I am happy for all of you, and for your mom.

    4
  • Cindi says:

    I might suggest some of Brene Brown’s books and talks on vulnerability for those of you with similar issues. She really gets to the heart of why it is hard, and also why it is so important to do it anyway.

    3
  • Carla Strand says:

    Thank you for all your posts, but this one made me cry. So happy for your family to heal.

    2
  • Geralyn says:

    I have three sisters, but also have three brothers. All that yin needs a little yang, I think. Great story and lessons. Thank you. I miss hearing about your family. Cheers.

  • Linda Hoover says:

    I love this so much! Thank you for sharing such a heartbreaking and then heartwarming story.

  • Fran W. says:

    So happy for you and Anita!

    1
  • Jennifer Johnson says:

    Wow I love this so much. Forgiveness and being vulnerable to each other and spreading love. Exactly what we need in our world. Thank you for sharing!

    2
  • Tracy J. Back says:

    Dear Maria,
    I’m so thrilled for you and Anita! It’s wonderful to have that piece of your heart back in its rightful place! I too had a strained relationship with my sister for many years. Remember when I mentioned the Gallup Strengths Assessment? Once my sister took the assessment, it opened up a whole new world for the two of us in terms of our relationship. Most of all we accept and understand each other so much more! I hope your relationship with your sister continues to strengthen and deepen. xo

    1
  • Beth says:

    Congratulations and best wishes for rebuilding this relationship.

    1
  • Candy says:

    Maria! I am so happy to read this! Your love of your family shines through here on your blog (and Instagram), I am so happy you’ve been able to patch things up with Anita!

    1
  • Sarah says:

    this is beautiful!

    1
  • Michelle says:

    My eyes are welling with tears, Maria, from your lovely story of forgiveness and reconciliation! So much love to you and your beautiful sisters!

    1
  • Liz in Oregon says:

    This is wonderful, Maria! I’ve been around long enough to remember you patching things up with Anita back in 2014(?) after a period of estrangement. I’m so happy for both of you. There will be bumps in the road, but don’t let the door slam shut again. I’m an only child and would have loved to have a sister to argue with and make up with. 🙂

    I’m your Mom’s age and I’m so happy for her to have all her girls together again. What a gift! Much love to you all!

  • KNJ says:

    Totally teary eyed here….I never had a sister, aunts, uncles, cousins…and knew only one grandmother on another continent. Now that my parents have passed…my relationship with my older brother has gotten better than ever…though age and becoming ‘orphans’ had so much to do with putting ‘life is short’ into perspective. I’m envious of your relationships and respect and admire that as tenuous as all family relationships may be…it is better to at least have some communication than none at all. Kudos to Anita and you for keeping the embers glowing.

    1
  • Jan says:

    Isn’t it amazing that in families where the love bond is so strong that disagreement is equally as strong in that what we think is hatred is really just strong disappointment or disapproval. Under that misconstrued surface lies that strong bond which can never be broken, only hidden. I am so happy for your family, Maria. 💜

    1
  • jane says:

    Best wishes for you and your sister, and for your whole family.

    PS: I’ve seen a couple of comments now about that bear painting, but the way I read it, you said she should move it but when she said she loved it there you said okay and moved on. You did not insist on having your way! #TeamMaria

    4
  • Laura says:

    God Bless you and your sister. I tell my 2 daughters every day (17 months apart) that nothing else and no one else matters in life except them – friends will come and go, but they will always have each other.

    1
  • M says:

    Oh Maria, so happy to hear than you and Anita were able to mend the rift. That you had the courage to reach out and that Anita was receptive. Often that doesn’t happen. A blessing and gift for your whole family! Here’s to many more dates with Anita and family gatherings!
    Beautiful letter Anita. Thank you for your story Maria.

    1
  • Karen says:

    What an awesome, powerful and moving story! That was the best gift you could have given your mom!

    2
  • Kwsc says:

    I have a fractured family as did my mother’s. My husband does too. He says spend time with the people who want to spend time with you. I would make a step to mend the fence but the quality of the relationship when we spent time together was poor and often I felt used.

    2
  • Karen H. says:

    This post made my day, Maria. I am so happy for you and your sisters, and your mama must believe in miracles. Xo Karen

  • Concerned supporter says:

    Nipple exposure???
    Is your sister’s nipple exposed in the last group photo?

  • Melanie A says:

    This is so wonderful. Thank you so much to both you and Anita for sharing this; I’m so happy for you 4 girls and your mom ❤️

  • Tanya says:

    Best post ever!! So happy for you, family issues are so awful and you never really resolve yourself to not speaking to someone, I don’t think. You are truly truly blessed to have 3 sisters, that must be awesome! Except when it isn’t 🙁

    • Tanya says:

      Sorry — didn’t mean to leave it on a bad note. Just meant that it would be awesome to have 3 sisters, but don’t want to idealize things b/c obviously nothing is perfect, as your post shows. (I have always wanted to have a sister, so have a tendency to idealize that relationship, even though I have known sisters who were the closest, and sisters who haven’t spoken in years and years. Anyway, thank you for sharing this story, relationships are crazy complicated wonderful things!

  • Candace Kwasnicki says:

    This post kind of made me sad. I have two sisters but only have a relationship with one. I wish that there was a way to reconcile but alas , it takes two willing people. I did reach out to my sister last year regarding a health issue I was having and advised her to be tested. I didn’t receive a response and so again reached out to confirm her being tested – she wasn’t. Months later I asked if she had results and fortunately she was negative. I expressed that i was disappointed that she didn’t communicate with me. I told her that I thought enough of her and her 10 grandchildren to inform her of the genetic disease I was diagnosed with but she obviously did not care and was not happy to be given the chance to avoid what I had gone through. So the ball is in her court and I will let the universe take over. what ever happens now, I am at peace with it.

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