Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Family Relationships: Sister

My big sister? She be CRAZY.

I know, I said my mom was crazy, and she is! But my sister? She. Be. CRAZY!

Big Sister and I are very close in age. With only fourteen months separating us we were often lumped together and expected to share everything. It wasn't uncommon for mom to buy us the exact same items, but in different colors. For example my favorite stuffed bunny was turquoise and I named her Angelica, whereas my sisters was pink and was named Baby.

Despite the closeness in age we were very different. My sister was outgoing, never hesitating to explore new places or walk up to people and try to make friends. For example when we were in a restaurant and Big Sister toddled up to a guy at the bar and said, "My mommy bought me new panties!" and proceeded to pull up her dress to show him, then ask where his mommy and daddy were.

I was more observant. I would sit back and watch my sister do things. If she got in trouble I never pushed it, but if she didn't get in trouble I would mimic and use the "But Big Sister didn't get in trouble!" excuse.

As we left toddlerhood some other differences became more apparent. According to my parents we were both tested. Big Sisters results were "learning disabled" and my results were "gifted". This is probably where our family split in relationships stemmed from. My mother, as I mentioned before, needs to be needed. She is drawn to situations, people and animals that will rely on her. She and Big Sister grew close. My father valued independence and growth. He and I grew close.

A rivalry developed between my sister and I. She had a lot that I was jealous of and I resented her lifestyle a lot. To me it seemed she got by with minimal effort and hand holding whereas I was held to a higher standard. I had to WORK to get anything. She was personable, sweet, charming and pretty whereas I was bossy, sarcastic, critical and chubby. I became angry, the smallest thing would set me off and I physically struck her a lot.

It wasn't until middle school that I came to the conclusion that the test results were bogus. I stopped lording over Big Sister that she was "disabled" whereas I was "gifted" (no joke, I was awful). I saw that how our parents treated us and what they expected of us as individuals probably had more of an impact on how we developed rather than anything some dumb test could tell us.

I saw that even though we didn't get along very well, we had a lot of the same interests. We fought over the same friends because we looked for the same qualities. It was at this point that a little part of me forgave her. Sure I was still jealous and resentful of how "easy" she had it, but I also realized that maybe I had a bit of a leg up as far as functioning in society.

We bonded. We bonded over Pokemon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, other anime. We shared friends and even worked together in our own babysitting business which allowed us to pool our money so we could share DVD's and graphic novels. I learned that Big Sister was incredibly creative and when she has an interest in something she has a ridiculous ability to retain information.

When I was eighteen I felt so guilty about bullying and hitting her all those times I pulled her aside and apologized. I think I was on the verge of tears and right after I hugged her spoke.

Big Sister: Oh that? Most of the time I was antagonizing you. I wanted you to hit me so you'd get in trouble.

I stared at her incredulously for a moment. It was just long enough for all my guilt to dissipate. I swore are her then punched her in the arm.

We both laugh about that to this day.


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