When I started writing this, I hadn’t yet read Amanda’s post on Sisters. There must be something in the air. Either that, or we are both competitive and trying to get ahead of the game, posting something before National Sibling Day next month in order to win the title of BEST sisters! Our dynamic seems so similar, I’m sure my own sister Stacey can relate to so many things that Amanda wrote about. Right down to the descriptions of our personalities.
Amanda has written what it is like being a big sister. I loved it. Now I can share my experience from the perspective of the little sister.
I feel sorry for other girls/women that do not have a sister. There isn’t another person on this planet that knows me better than mine. We can look at each other 8000 different ways when no one else is paying attention, and we will know exactly what the other is thinking. Sure it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, no one can annoy or frustrate me more. There were a lot of years where we were too cool to admit how much we loved each other. I’m sure this is a natural sibling thing, but it was easier to pretend that we were enemies. We would never have admitted that a top secret best friendship bond was already forming. I think I started realizing this when she allowed me to sneak into her bed when I was afraid at night. I was probably faking it most of the time, because I knew that once I was in there, she would share the forbidden snacks that were hidden under her bed, while we listened to the far too mature ‘Downtown Julie Brown’ show on the radio. I was now an accomplice. That’s love. As much as I would protest her power-tripping older sister status, I secretly loved it. She was the only one that felt bad for me because my birthday is always during the Christmas break. She started her own little tradition that my husband now refuses to entertain, and would throw a summer birthday for me in August. Stacey would always pack my lunches (RIP peanut butter and crackers for brown bagged school lunches), make sure that I was up early enough to stand outside at the bus stop in the mornings, all while ratting me out if I decided to be a dirtbag and not brush my teeth or comb my hair. Balance. By the time we were in high school she had mastered my mom’s signature and would write all of my ‘parent’ letters to get me out of class. We started this in grade nine so that the handwriting was consistent for whenever I needed a note. Genius! With my mom working weird long hours and weekends, and having a dad that lived far away, we were alone a lot. I’m pretty sure that if I had been the older sister, things would have ended up very differently. They probably would have gone South really quickly. Because of her maturity and high morals – they didn’t. Although she did mix my first alcoholic drink, she also made sure to inform my dad the next day that I didn’t actually have the flu, I was in fact puking my guts out with my first hangover. Again… balance.
I was never going to be as smart, tough, brave or independent as Stacey. That was established very early on. I had accepted my role as the funny, bratty, dumb little sister. I constantly followed her lead without giving it a second thought. Although it took me a while to realize that just because it was a smart move for Stacey, it didn’t necessarily mean it was the right decision for me. Like following her to the University of Waterloo. It became evident to me straight away that it wasn’t the right fit, I had no business being there. I had never really allowed myself to trust my own gut and make my own decisions up until that point. I lazily followed her lead. Life is a lot easier if you don’t have to take responsibility for your own decisions and you can blame someone else if things go wrong. I foolishly dropped out of university after my second year, and I decided I was a proper grown-up and I needed to take my own path. I was a bit lost for a few years after that, and we grew apart for a while. I was ashamed of some of the decisions I was making, and I would avoid having conversations with her about them. I would often beg my parents to keep things from Stacey. I was so concerned about disappointing her. I had finally discovered some independence, but I had also become incredibly selfish. I was so used to being babied by her, it had made me a spoiled brat that figured I could get away with anything. My sister went through some pretty tough times while I was off doing my own thing, and I wasn’t there for her at all. I’ve just never been as good at being a sister as she has. I do try, it just doesn’t measure up. I was a selfish turd in my 20s and I thought that I was too cool for everything. I wasn’t. Now I have a lot of regrets.
So many people have let her down in her life, and I can’t think of anyone less deserving of this treatment. People recognize her generosity, and have no problem taking advantage of it. I know because I have done it myself. I really hope that I have redeemed myself over the years. I feel extremely protective of her. I can say whatever I want about her, but if you do… watch out. If you cross her, I promise that you are my enemy for life (ask her ex-husband!) This works both ways. If I hate you, my sister is going to hate you too. Mature? Nope. But if you’ve done me wrong, she will not forget. We are a packaged deal when it comes to our hatred.
Stacey is the constant voice in the back of my mind. I was just telling someone the other day that it’s crazy that even at my age, my older sister is still basically the boss of me, and forces me to LEAP out of my comfort zone. I’ll never understand that kind of older sister power.
Since I began writing this, Stacey has already posted about her health scare. This is what inspired my post. I can’t even type this without getting teary. All of this is basically a response to the universe. You can f*ck off. You’ve already given her such a raw deal so many times in her life. I’m not letting this happen. LEAVE MY SISTER ALONE! I am going to take over being the bossy one for a change, and make sure that I do everything possible to prevent this. I am not losing my person. Since my arrival when she was 2.5, she has probably always felt the need to take care of me. I hope she knows that I am ready for it to be my turn now.
I am a stay-at-home mom in my 40s, still finding it hard to believe that this is my title in life. Mom of two young girls and married to a pilot (in other words… part time single parent). I am ‘Auntie Boom’ to Willowjak, and have the tattoo to prove it! My youngest was diagnosed with autism at 2, and finally a rare genetic disorder called DDX3X at 5. I’m almost always tired, and I feel as though my goal in life is to survive. I’m sure that I am not alone on this quest.