Diapers and Dragons

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sister Mine

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.

6 bits of love:

Arby said...

Happy Birthday, SoccerSister!

Nicola said...

Lovely post!! I feel the same about my sister - you could have been writing about our relationship - but now we are very close and I can't imagine her not being in my life. Now I just need for her to get knocked up so I, too, can enjoy some babylust on someone elses behalf!! Congratulation SoccerSister - and Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, TeacherSister! Thank you for your compliments and encouragement, and I forgive you (and have!). Please forgive me for all those bites! and the one time pencil lead got stuck in your arm... And you know I followed you all around because I thought you were so fun to play with. You did organize a good make-believe story on demand. Do your remember our frangipani trees on the station?
I hope I get to live near you so that we can share in the child raising years. Yikes - I realized that at my next birthday, I will have a 6 month old!!!
- SoccerSister

Dad said...

Happy Birthday SoccerDaughter and thank you TeacherDaughter - you both are so precious to me and us!! Love you. Dad

GingerB said...

Happy birthday little sister. I too was the little sister, who worshipped the elder more manipulative sister. It's all OK now, I forgive it all, and she reamins one of the the most important people in my life.

mom said...

Brutal honesty here, TeacherMommy, but not broad enough. You left out all the other parts (as you tend to do -- still learning to love yourself!). Like how you loved to hold wee BabySister and sing to her. Like how you let her follow you everywhere, and participate in your big-girl games with friends with like Anne or Heidi. Like how you sang with her, danced with her, as you entered your teens (I will never forget a certain night in our living room, furniture all pushed back.) Like how you worked with her as Santa's elves to make wonderful gifts for your mom and dad and little bro. Like how you made candles (and still do) together, and made stories and played games in the car. And on and on. It's good to get rid of the wounds, and I congratulate you on once again coming clean. And I want you to know that I have watched you grow into a lovely big sister. (But you weren't always the Nasty Big Sis you described here. Just sayin!) I think you have lots to look forward to in that special relationship. It's like no other. Shared blood, history, traumas, delights, phone conversations, milestones. Including the one that makes you TeacherAunty.

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