August 16, 2012

Sister’s Day: 2012—Sisters Meet After 63 Years



Suddenly, sisters seem to be everywhere: Kate and Pippa; Kim, Kourtney and Khloe; Jessica and Ashlee. And while some are as likely to squabble as share, this latest crop of sisters is better known for having each other’s backs than for family feuds…1

What functional families is this article referring to?


August 5th, 2012, was National Sisters Day. At least it was such on the calendar.

For me, it fell on August 15th, the day I first met my final maternally-originated sister—I’ll call her Gwyneth, since she is still holding her—our—story close to her heart while she processes its details. Ours is not a reunion story. It is an introduction story. Until recently we didn’t know of the existence of each other.

At this point I must state that my dysfunctional family produced sisterly relationships of a different sort than those reported in this USA Weekend magazine article.

My mother birthed nine children, seven of them girls, listed below using AKAs:

Olive, one year older than I am


Gwyneth, five years younger than I

Edith, ten years younger

Helen, eleven years younger

Fran, fifteen years younger

Margaret, sixteen years younger

(my two brothers are twelve and twenty years younger—just FYI, since this post is about sisters)


Seven sisters. It sounds like a wonderful sisterly world. Yet…this list doesn’t tell the entire story.

I grew up with one sister, Olive (no brothers). In our later adult life we have developed a wonderful sisterly relationship.

The eleven or more year age gap made me more of a caretaker than a sister to Helen, Fran, and Margaret. Furthermore, I left the family home three months before Helen turned seven, and I moved out of state several years later. Thus, we didn’t share a common childhood, nor did I come to know them during their teenage and adulthood years.

Thus, an age difference between Helen, Fran, and Margaret, followed by a distance factor, precluded the development of a sisterly relationship.

Three sisters subtracted from sisterly relationships.


AKA Olive
& Carolyn

What of Olive, the sister with whom I shared a childhood?

Our personalities were very different, which helped our mother’s divide and conquer method of child control. Both factors interfered greatly in our developing a loving relationship.

However, as adults our common childhood bond and our desire to overcome the impediments of our relationship, and our sharing of parenting experiences has brought us into a positive sisterly relationship.


In the past few years some of us sisters have been attempting to build relationship. Our successes are cause for celebrating National Sister’s Day.


You ask—what about Gyneth and Edith?

I not only didn’t share my childhood with them—I was unaware of their very existence. My mother released them for adoption at their birth.

AKA Edith

While my mother was pregnant with Gwyneth, Olive and I were permanently living with our grandparents. Our mother worked in an adjacent state. By the time our mother was pregnant with Edith, Olive and I were living in an apartment with our mother, just up the street from my grandparent’s home. It amazes me that Olive and I never picked up that she was pregnant. We were so naive.  Olive recalled only that our mother went to the hospital for an appendectomy.There was one brief comment made by our uncle suggesting that our mother released two babies for adoption. It was a highly questionable comment, highly unbelievable.

The lack of knowledge of Gwyneth and Edith’s existence disallowed the development of sisterly relationships.


In January 2011 CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS received three comments and a phone number. Upon my calling I immediately received a photograph and a copy of a birth certificate, and welcomed Edith into the family. My husband Monte wanted to attend a sports event near her home, enabling us to meet several months later.

Another comment appeared on February 5, 2012. Again, a photograph of Gwyneth and a copy of a birth certificate arrived in my e-mail. She was my mother’s seventh daughter.

Circumstances allowed Gwyneth to visit my home for several hours on August 15th. While she was here I introduced them—by phone—to Olive and Edith.

It’s been nineteen months of integrating the newly arrived sisters into the family, a task which will take years to complete. The newly arrived sisters have yet to meet most of their sisters. Edith has met two, Gwyneth has met only me.

They were two additional reasons to celebrate National Sister’s Day 2012.


I cannot close this National Sister’s Day post without including my paternal sister—daughter of my father’s second marriage. Since meeting Kitty in the late 1970s we have developed, as best we can over a long distance, a positive sisterly relationship.


As you can see, my sister-filled family includes nothing like the sisterly relationships written about in the USA Weekend magazine article.


So I close this National Sister’s Day post by celebrating that I now have met my six maternal sisters and my paternal sister. Eight sisters.

It’s time to move forward, not regretting our lack in the past, but rejoicing in the future riches to come.

“People with sisters tend to have better mental and physical health as they get older…Sisters are the communicators in the family.1



Adoptee Finds Biological Family: Mine

My Mother’s Secret: An Adoption Story

Can a Mother Forget Her Infant?

Oprah and I: Adoption Reunion Experiences


While Doing Adoption Home Studies: Part 1


1 –The sweet success of sisters



  1. Its a fantastic story, and when I se Kitty,she look likes my mother and my grandmother.I hope I meet you all some days.
    /Your Swedish relatives Ann Åberg

    Comment by ann åberg — August 18, 2012 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  2. I enjoyed your story.

    Comment by melinders — September 2, 2012 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

    • I thought you would. Thanks for visiting the site. I hope you visit it more often.
      Your friend Sandy’s Mom, Carolyn

      Comment by carolyncholland — September 3, 2012 @ 12:06 am | Reply

  3. […] Sister’s Day: 2012—Sisters Meet After 63 Years […]

    Pingback by Marissa and Jocelyn: A Fairy Tale | Carolyn's Online Magazine — January 25, 2015 @ 10:38 am | Reply

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