Sister Love: It’s Complicated!
No one, and I mean no one, can agitate me to as high a degree as my big sister, Peg. Not my kids, my husband, or my gal pals; not my boss, the jerk who cuts me off in traffic, or the neighbor who stands in his driveway watching his Boxer poop in my front yard. My sister alone holds the power to make me quiver with fury.
She is also the woman who understands me like no other, bleeds when something cuts me, and would single-handedly take on a horde of alien zombie mutants to protect me. She’d win, too, and do it naked and sitting backwards on a zooming motorcycle if that were the only way to ensure my safety.
The thing is, she could say all of the above about me and it would still be true. We’re sisters. That’s how we roll.
I’ve known for a long time that I had the power to send her blood pressure to the moon. I’m the baby, you see—the one who got into her stuff, messed up her makeup, tried on her clothes, her shoes, and bugged her every which way, all to get her attention. “Mission Accomplished” was synonymous with those gorgeous blue eyes of hers shooting me the laser-focused Glare of Death. Do you have an older sister? Yes? Then you’ve seen the Glare of Death and know that it isn’t for the fainthearted.
Sure, I deserved it. I had no business trying to read her diary or squeeze my chubby self into her clothes (my nickname at 10-years-old was Tank, which pretty much says it all). Her earrings didn’t belong on my earlobes and those black and white photos of Elvis should have stayed in the back of the closet where they belonged.
But she was everything I wanted to be and wasn’t: petite and blue-eyed, with a French vocabulary at her disposal (Je vais a la bibliotheque!), a boyfriend who didn’t think she had cooties, and a figure that filled out all those clothes in just the right places. Add to that the later curfew, the driver’s license, and the private talks with Mama and—well, do you blame me? Of course I was an itch.
Now, to be fair, Peg could have been nicer, invited me into the inner sanctum now and then. But she is older by seven years and was far more interested in her own life than mine, and who could blame her? Hers was ever so much more exciting. Still, to her credit, she did offer me free access to her record player and 45s, she suffered through a thousand screaming teenage girls to take me to see—oh, swoon!—David Cassidy at the height of his popularity, and when my heart was broken, truly broken, it was she who held me tight, cried as hard as I did, and promised me in words which made sense that everything would work out for the best, and she was right. (She is also the one who saved me, but that, Buttercup, is a story for another time).
Big sisters, I think, don’t have it any easier than younger sisters do. I imagine Peg wished for my “baby” status a time or two, envied the fact that as the last kid at home there were years when I didn’t have to share our parents with anyone else very often. She got things that I didn’t, true; but then I got things that she didn’t, either. We each had different life experiences even though we grew up in the same house with the same two parents. We lived on opposite ends of the birth order. Our perspectives could only differ.
A few weeks ago Peg stopped by with her hubby, John. She and I had a bit of a row, got our backs up. It is fair to say we both showed our butts (I promise only the naked truth here and there you have it). Twenty minutes later we were hugging and sticking together like a pair of Siamese twins.
That’s how it goes with sisters.
Maybe the reason we are able to get so angry with each other is because we love each other enough to know that even at our worst, together is still the safest place to be.
Love you, Soph. So, so much.
For your listening pleasure, click on the YouTube video below of Carly Simon singing, “Older Sister.” And of course I welcome your comments about your own sisters, or lack thereof! What is your experience?
See you next week for more of the naked truth! Enjoy your week!