We all have our guilty pleasures. One of my more recent ones is "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills". I've watched other seasons (is that what you call the different geographical editions?), and found them somewhat intriguing, but none of them has drawn me in the way these Beverly Hills ladies have done. I believe I've said this before, but what strikes me as particularly odd is that, as plastic (and believe me, there's been a LOT of work done) and obscenely wealthy as this crew is, I've somehow found myself relating to them the most. Whether it's loving to hate Camille and her alternating shoulder shrugs and glares of death, or admiring the hell out of Adrienne and her drive and composure; aching for Taylor and her faltering marriage, or absolutely adoring Lisa and her fabulous sense of fashion and feisty sense of humor - I can't seem to get enough of them.
And then there are Kim and Kyle. The second I saw Kim, I thought, "I know her!" Of course I knew her -- I'm a child of the 70's, and I remember my "Witch Mountain"! And her sister, Kyle, was also familiar to me -- "Little House on the Prairie" featured both of them. Wow, that's a slightly interesting twist -- former child actors starring in a "reality" show about "houswives". (Oh - have I mentioned that none of the housewives are what any "real" person would consider a "housewife"?)
This season followed the sisters' complicated relationship fairly closely, and it was both endearing and painful to watch unfold. Clearly, there is love there. An abundance of it. Clearly, though, there is a great deal of deep-seeded pain, as well. There were elements of their relationship -- primarily the positive ones -- that reminded me of my relationships with my own sisters. There were elements that made me so very thankful to have the sisters I do.
Tension built between the two throughout the season. There were disagreements surrounding Kim's househunting, as well as her dependence on her children. There were moments when Kyle, though the younger of the two, simply dominated and yes, borderline bullied Kim. And, perhaps of greatest consequence, a misunderstanding between Kyle and Camille very early on spiraled out of control and Kim, though having the ability to clear things up and perhaps help them move past it, froze like a deer in the headlights and declined to do so. This set the stage for the season finale in which a somewhat halting attempt by Taylor to, once again, clear the air quickly devolved into a shouting match, and ultimately a knock-down drag-out between the sisters in the back of a limousine. No hair was pulled, no punches thrown, but there were words hissed in anger and backed by years of slights and frustrations that did immeasurable damage.
To anyone who hasn't watched the show, this must all seem quite silly, but I have to be honest: As I watched the sisters' horrible fight play out, it made me cry. Their pain was palpable and horrific. Even watching them several months later on the "reunion" show was hard. They clearly are still struggling with what happened and trying very hard to repair their relationship.
All of which brings me to my primary point: I love my sisters. No -- I mean -- I really, truly, 100%, unabashedly, shamelessly love my sisters, and feel extraordinarily blessed to call them mine. Kim and Kyle aren't the only sisters I "know" who have complicated relationships. I have several dear friends who struggle with them as well. My relationships with my sisters aren't perfect. We have occasional bumps, moments of jealousy or mrrroowwrrr-hsssssishness, a misunderstanding and a hurt feeling here and there. But for the most part, our relationships are blessedly uncomplicated. We love each other, we like each other, and we're there for each other.
Maybe I'm at an advantage, as the baby by 7+ years -- I look up to both of them and never was forced to really compete with them or tussle with them over things. Instead, I got the benefit of their love and loyalty and protection without having to really fight for it. Although I like to think they've gotten the benefit of mine, as well.
One realization that's slowly made its way up to my conscious brain in recent months is that when all is said and done, they will be the ones who've known and loved me longest in my life. They were girls and now are women who've helped shape me into the person I've become. They are a very real source of my strength. They are my sisters. And I am so very grateful for that.