Those of you who know me already know that I have a very large family- with eight brothers and five sisters. One of my sisters passed away from breast cancer a number of years ago, reducing the number of my remaining sisters. Not surprisingly, with a family this size there are plenty of misunderstandings, grudges and other sibling difficulties. We have the works. I very much love all of my brothers and sisters and their children- even if I don't always understand them, see them or spend time with them.

As families go, I think ours is most unique due to its large size and variety of personalities. If I could choose any family at all to be a member of, I would choose this one. Despite our conflicts, troubled childhood, painful relationships and broad lack of communication- I like where I came from and who my relatives were and are.

Growing up, we didn't get to know our relatives on our father's side very well and this is a shame. I would have liked to know them as well as I got to know my mother's side of the family. I don't even know the names of my father's father and mother. His brothers and sisters I may have met when I was a child, but I don't remember them and I am sure they don't remember me.

The one exception was one of his sisters- my Aunt Rusty- who invited me to visit her in California one winter which changed my life forever. Her son, my cousin, is my age- but I don't know where he lives and we haven't been in contact since his mother died of lung cancer years ago. Still, my heart is always open and I would welcome him and all my other family members back in my life with open arms if they ever find my website and look me up.

At present, we are struggling to deal with the physical and mental decline of our mother- who was recently admitted into a nursing home after living with one of my brothers for over ten years. She is suffering paranoid delusions and her care and well-being are a source of conflict in the family now. It's possible she has alzheimers- in as much as her father, oldest sister and only brother were victims of that horrid disease.



It is very difficult to see my mother in this condition. Despite my atheism, bisexuality and chosen profession as a prostitute, my mother and I were always very close. When I could afford to, I used to bring her to California for a visit- giving her a much needed vacation from my younger brothers and sisters who were still at home.

Out of this sad and unpleasant situation has come something wonderful- something I thought would never happen- and that is the reuniting as a family of most of my siblings. Thanks to the internet, our family has been brought back together after years of serious lack of communication. With the exception of our oldest brother, all of my siblings and their children and I have begun an online discussion regarding our mother's fate and declining condition, which has led to a rediscovery of our family and how much we really do love one another.

While far too many years were wasted carrying old misunderstandings and grudges, we've put all those in the past, apologized to one another, and are getting to know each other as the grown-ups we have become. I've learned so very much about myself and my family through our dialogues over the past year. I think it is fair to say that we all have learned about ourselves from each other-and discovered traits we have in common that we once believed were ours alone. I won't go into those traits- some are far too embarrassing to share with anyone outside our family. I am sure that if their children learned about these traits, blackmail would become the order of the day. Fortunately I have no children to inherit these traits or to threaten exposure upon discovery