Do you have a sibling? If so, this column just might speak to you. If not, I’m sorry. I had four siblings and I can verify that there was never a dull moment in our household. Or maybe I should say “I’m sorry” if you DID have a sibling.
As most of you likely know by now (ad nauseum) I am the middle child and in case you haven’t worked it out for yourself already, I am also a female.
While I have three brothers, I am also lucky enough to have a sister. Of course I didn’t always consider myself lucky to have that sister. I mean, after all, who doesn’t want to be a queen amongst a clan of kings? The ONLY queen, if you get my drift. Mother’s don’t count as queens, as all of us mothers know. We fall into the role of Cinderella. Anyway; there was that little thing that kept getting in the way of my queendom. That little thing could, at times, take on huge proportions by way of morphing not just into a sister, but into an older sister‑the worst kind of sister to have, if one must have a sister. Older sisters, you know, get to have all the fun while the younger sisters have to sit in the corner cooling their heels until they too “get as old as your sister” before we could do the same things. All the while older sister is smirking that superior smirk of hers as she flounces off to have fun while younger sister contemplates a night of sitting with three stinky, obnoxious brothers‑far from the kings earlier described.
For some reason my parents loved to foster competition between my sister and I. I suppose it was to encourage the very best in us, but for me it only fed that green eyed devil slumbering inside of me. That is when I decided that even though I was the middle child and the younger sister to boot, I was going to make sure that the world knew I existed. I think that was during the time known as “parent-teen conflict”.
But things weren’t always that way.
There is a cartoon I just saw that is as cute as cute gets. It is a picture of two sisters dressed identically and holding hands. One sister is obviously the oldest while the other is most certainly the younger of the two. They are dressed alike in pretty little dresses. Their mother went to great length to dress them alike right down to the satin and velvet dresses. Their hair is neatly groomed and immediately brought a smile to my face. The oldest girl has a huge frown upon her face while her younger, and clearly adoring sister, has a huge, self-satisfied smile upon her sweet little face. The caption area above the older sister reads, “I’m dressed just like my sister.” The look upon her face says it all. The younger sister’s face is lit up with pure joy. Her caption reads, “I’m dressed just like my sister.” Her pleasure at being just like her older sister is as tangible even now, numerous years later, as it was the day the picture was taken.
That picture brought a smile to my face along with a flood of warm memories. My mother used to be a beautiful seamstress and even though she worked outside the home, she found time to sew my sister and I identical outfits for special occasions such as Easter or Christmas right down to matching hats and matching gloves.
One year she made an exquisite matching dress for both my sister and I. I called it my bee dress, while my sister remembers the dress as having a butterfly pattern on it. It really doesn’t matter what the pattern was. What is interesting is how the passing of years has blurred the lines and changed the perspective. But whatever the case might be, one thing is unflinchingly tangible and that is no matter what the age or the years that have passed, but sister-sister bond can’t be broken.
We have long since grown out of those matching dresses, but looking back I now know that what will not change is that I will always have an older sister and I will always be the younger sister. Not earth shattering news or an eye-opening epiphany, but quite comforting in its truth and simplicity.