When I first wrote this headline, I penned ‘step-sister’ instead of ‘half-sister’. Then I realised it didn’t really matter, and changed it to ‘sister’. This is how I can tell I’m finally accepting the 6-year-old reminder of my dad’s mail-order marriage. My lovely, little 6-year-old sister.
The same has gone for just about any social situation where this sister has come up. I’ve called her by any other name than, you know, my sister. Yep. All of the names you can think of. I am, no, I was, a horrible person. But then something changed.
When she came into this world, my sister rattled me to my core. You see, I’d grown up believing my dad never wanted a daughter (me), or sons (my brothers).
"I'd grown up believing my dad never wanted a daughter (me)." Image via iStock.
When I was six, the same age my sister is now, dad left, abruptly. He'd been seeing someone else around the same time one of my brothers was born and soon decided he liked the thrills of a new woman over that of smelly nappies and projectile baby vomit. Go figure.
For the next 20 years I dealt with the pain by convincing myself that he “just wasn't a family man”, he “wasn't meant to have kids”, and he was “just better suited without us”. I'd rattle out those lines at the speed of light because at my core I believed the opposite. I believed he never wanted me. A truth I'm certain my two brothers told themselves, too.
Pinning the idea on a distaste for children in general (and not myself) gave me the power to move on and feel like it wasn't my fault. Which didn't really work in the end anyway, because as we all know, children of divorce always end up believing it's their fault. It's written in the stars.
Anyway, by the time I was 20, and my dad was on to his third marital pursuit, my self-confidence was pretty cracked (despite what I told to my now husband-then-boyfriend, and my friends). So when dad sat my brothers and I down to tell us he'd be marrying the foreign thirty-something-year-old woman who appeared on his desktop screensaver - and having a baby with her - my fake acceptance turned to hatred. Yep, before the baby was but the size of a bean, I hated it.
"Yep, before the baby was but the size of a bean, I hated it." Image via iStock.
Then the baby was born, and it was a girl. She was going to be the daughter dad loved, while I was the one he didn't.
The first time I held her, dad dropped by my shitty part-time uni job to throw her into my arms. I was working all kinds of hours during uni because, unlike other families, my mum was a single parent and couldn't afford to help with paying for my textbooks.