DEAR HARRIETTE: There’s a pretty large age gap between my sister and me. When my mom had me, my sister was 16 years old. I have been told that when I was a baby, my sister would take care of me like I was her own. But when I turned 4, my sister joined the Air Force. A couple of years later, she got married and had children of her own. I am so happy for her. She has it all: an amazing husband, beautiful kids and a great-paying job. I understand she has a life of her own. However, lately, speaking to her is like speaking to a stranger. She and I are polar opposites. I feel that I don’t have as close a bond with her as she has for other people. My sister makes time for her friends (when she is not watching the kids), but we never seem to do anything together. I miss having this bond with my sister, and I worry that she doesn’t love me. Is there any way I can build our bond again? -- Distant Sister
DEAR DISTANT SISTER: It is natural that you and your sister are not as close as you might like. She left home when you were a toddler and built a life of her own that has been full-on with work, children and family. Rather than bemoaning your status with her, speak up. Tell your sister that you miss her and want to build a closer relationship with her.
Suggest a few options that include visiting her at home with the family. That way you can get to know her children better, too. Invite her to go out with you from time to time. Make it clear that you want to get to know her better. Be direct with her. She is so busy with her life that it’s likely she doesn’t realize how left out you feel. I’m sure she loves you. Don’t give up.