Sunday, August 28, 2005


My sister turns 50 this Wednesday and I sent her one of these for her birthday. Denise loves to feel "cozy" and I think she is going to love this new robe.

In the meantime, I've been avoiding her telephone calls.

Denise seems to go out of her way to tell me how exhausting and difficult it is to raise children. During our last conversation, I asked her why she kept telling me that I'd "better think twice about adopting." Her reply was, "Because I know you and I don't think you can do it."

Unsolicited advice is a double-edged sword. It's always hard to understand the motivation behind the words, and sometimes the person is really spouting advice that they really need to use themselves. I'm trying to not be hurt or offended by her words, but really, enough is enough. It's OK to speak your peace with me once. I will listen, digest the offering, and choose to incorporate the advice or not. I really don't need to hear it repetitively, as in Every Time We Talk. When that happens, I become Defensive.

Jill: Hey, you were the one who told me I was a fool for buying my first townhouse.

Denise: I know, you proved me wrong.

Jill: You are also the one who told me that I was making a mistake moving to Colorado.

Denise: That wasn't me.

Jill: Yes, it was. You also said that I was putting us At Risk by buying a house so quickly. And that I need to get a job right away and not take any time off.

Denise: Whatever. I'm just telling you to think very hard before you go through with this. It is so much harder than you can ever imagine.

Jill: Tell me something. What would your life be like without your daughter Leslie? And what would your life be like without your grandson? Imagine growing older without them. Imagine they never existed.

Denise: I know, but there are alot of people who don't have kids and lead perfectly happy lives. It's OK to not have kids.

Jill: I'm aware of that and we have discussed this extensively. Husband and I really want this.

Denise: Well, I think you're making a mistake. It's never-ending and exhausting.

Jill: Well, it's also exhilarating and joyful.

Denise: Whatever. It's ultimately your decision.

Jill: Damned-straight, it is.

So here I sit, staring pensively at the phone as it rings most every half hour. Wondering why my sister feels the need to share her opinions about my life - - - especially when I do nothing of the sort to her.

It's a pattern that's followed me throughout my life. People who express self-doubt at any point in their lives tend to open the door for others to provide direction - whether actively solicited...or Not.