Twenty-nine years ago today, my life changed forever. I had been the Golden Child, the only little kidlet around in the entire extended family and missionary community out in Ivory Coast. As far as I was concerned, the universe revolved around me and Galileo could go suck it.
And then came long this adorable little baby with wispy blond hair and big blue eyes and a disturbing tendency to be very very very precocious and I was supposed to Love My Sister.
Yeah. Not so much.
I'm afraid I was a pretty awful Big Sister for a very long time. I tormented her. I knew all her buttons. I played them with all the skill of a Mortal Kombat button masher, and my results were just as aggravating (to her) as my MK skillz were to my male opponents Back in the Day.
(For the love of god, you aren't even TRYING to get the combos off! You're just MASHING BUTTONS and I'm trying to be SKILLED here, girl! Come on!)
(Meanwhile, I would kick their butts. Just sayin'.)
I'd rile her up until she would, out of pure frustration, bite me, and then I'd go running off to a parent with the proof of her crime. Oh, I was nasty. And when we would get in mutual trouble and be placed in the corner to sit until we apologized and said we loved each other? She'd crumble in a moment. I would sit there for pretty much Ever. I'm not sorry and I don't love her! I would exclaim.
Oh, I was a bitch.
Mind you, I was the only one allowed to treat her that way. Sure, I'd complain up and down about having to let her tag along on adventures and keep an eye on her, but God forbid anyone else criticize her. Then they'd be ripped a new one. I was the only one allowed to abuse her.
Time eventually changed my attitude. I had a few wake-up calls along the way. And I finally faced the reality that most of my resentment came from my own poor self-esteem and my jealousy that my sister is, very truthfully, Just Plain Awesome.
She is. She's smart, beautiful, athletic, generous, outgoing, sensitive, funny, friendly, loving, and hard-working. So's her husband. These days when I tell people about them (with a bit of a brag, by the way), I often say It's a good thing they're so damn likable, because otherwise it would be very easy to hate them.
And there's only a tiny bit of snark in there. Because seriously, they're amazing people.
Our relationship is not entirely healed from the damage I did all those years ago. But we have worked on it, and these days? These days I can say, very honestly, that I AM sorry and that I DO love her.
So Happy Birthday, SoccerSister. It's been a long and often painful road, but I am so very grateful that you are my sister (and, um, that you're also so forgiving. *ahem*) This year to come is going to be life-changing for you like little else, and I truly hope that I can be a presence in your journey that makes you, as well, grateful to have a sister.
I love you.
3 years ago