For myself and my three sisters, it is less about getting along than it is about not having anything in common or even liking each other very much. There was some negative history in regard to care of elderly parents and I know that played into it and was the last straw for me, but even before eldercare issues, I often wondered what value my sisters added to my life.

When I reached 50, that is how I began rating relationships — does this person add value to my life? Having shared childhoods isn’t enough. Having known someone since elementary school is not enough. Having worked together for 2 decades is not enough. That is one of the reasons I closed my old Facebook account with its 300+ “friends” who were not really friends. I reached a point where I felt I was drowning with dozens and dozens of people pulling me under the waves. I took a hard look at each of those people and decided who would help me swim and who would pull me under. It was let go or drown.

Kathy, when I saw your prompt was “Sister”, I almost skipped it. But, I felt it was important to express the other side of family relationships. Many people are ashamed or afraid to admit that they don’t particularly like their family members or that they make a conscious choice not to interact with them. Especially if there were no huge fights, serious relationship problems, or issues like abuse (physical, emotional, or substance), people feel like cads for simply not liking their relatives. Shared blood does not mean shared opinions, dreams, experiences, or understanding. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express that in a poem.

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