Sister Act

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Several days ago I was told by a couple of family members that my 21-year-old sister got married last week.  I felt so distressed hearing that! I assumed that my sister was playing a joke; but was shocked to find that she wasn’t.  I am bothered that she didn’t bother to call me.  Plain and simple my feelings are hurt!

I must begin by telling you all that I am the oldest of five siblings.  I have two sisters and three brothers.  Chloe, my youngest sister was born when I was nine. 

She was a gorgeous baby.  When I first saw the chubby bundle of cafe au lait that mother held in her arms, I was in love.  Her face was even shaped like a heart!  Chloe had dark, thick wurly (a mixture of waves and curls) hair with big doe-like brown eyes and a tiny button nose.  Her skin was soft and smooth.  She stared into my eyes as she sucked daintily on her petite thumb (a habit that she has not abandoned).  In a word she was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.  Even to this day, there are not many babies that I would place on par with her.

Chloe was a good, quiet yet spoiled child.  My stepfather doted on her.  “Baby Girl,” as she was called by him, was the princess of the house.  She could do no wrong.

Shortly before she turned nine, I headed off to college. Therefore our time living under the same roof was brief.   I was also very involved in school activities, ballet class, and I worked part-time.  Plus, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house so I really wasn’t home much. 

But I still made it a priority to spend time and do things for her as she was growing up.  To highlight her 13th birthday, I gave her a slumber party at my house.  I wanted her to know that she was valued as my little sister.  I took her on many outings and even involved her in my volunteer efforts as a “sisterfriend” to pregnant teenagers at The Birthing Project

As the years progressed we grew distance.  I am not sure how or why because I certainly loved Chloe. However, the older she got, the less she would interact with me.  As a teenager she developed a wild streak.  I didn’t like a few of her boyfriends which didn’t go over well with her. 

For a while she was a student at the high school where I taught.  I let my colleagues know and asked them to get me abreast of her progress.  Chloe, however, seemed embarassed that her big sister was a teacher at her school.  She would barely speak to me in the halls and would try avoid being in the same vicinity as me.  I guess she didn’t want me keeping such a close eye on her (considering that she liked to cut).

I tried to keep her on the right track, but I think this only served to increase the distance between she and I.  Thankfully her wild days were fleeting.

Over the years I talked to my mother often about how four of my five siblings seemed to view me.  She summed it up by saying that they just didn’t understand my good intentions. My mother knew that I had pure motives.  She also reminded me that they did not like being admonished by anyone, including her or their dad.  While this was certainly understandable I was still at a loss.  What else was I to do?  I always thought that they were too lenient with them.  She was a lot stricter on me growing up.  So I took it upon myself to get the job done.

As the first born I always felt obligated to set examples for them.  I viewed it as my  sisterly duty to correct them when they were headed in what I felt was the wrong way.

It always rested heavy on my heart that it was “me” and “them.”  Not only were we seperated by time, we were also divided by blood.  My mother’s first husband was their dad.  I often wondered if this was  part of the reason I was so hard for them to swallow. I felt like the wicked, half-blood sister. 

I know this concerned my mother as well.  A year or so before she died I promised her that I would always look after them and would not let their attitudes about me get in the way.  I know it troubled her to see us so fractured.  

When she died I thought we would all magically grow closer.  Of course, this has not been the case.  Don’t get me wrong, when we see each other we are social and civil.  In fact, a few months ago my husband and I had lunch at the restaurant where Chloe works as a hostess.  She seemed genuinely happy to see me.  She ran and gave me a big hug and chatted with us for a spell.  But I didn’t hear from her after that.  I called her once or twice but she never returned my messages.

Sometimes I get the impression that Chloe (and probably my other siblings as well) thinks I will have “something to say,” about what, I don’t know.  Since they are now adults I don’t try to fix them anymore.  I haven’t “said” anything about how they chose to conduct their affairs in many moons.  Now when hear about something that I don’t necessarily agree with, I immediatedly send a prayer up for them.  I now know that God is much better suited to correct them than I am.

I have spent the week pouting about her selfishness.  But today I sucked it up and headed to the store to buy a gift for the newlyweds.  I am going to invite my sister and my brother-in-law (one of the boyfriends from her youth that I did not like) over for dinner as well. 

Afterall, I will always be their big sister and I have to continue acting as one.  I won’t give up on them!

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5 responses »

  1. I’m so sorry that your sister hurt you like that. I’m a 1st child too. I used to get the “why did you let your brother do ____ (fill in the blank) growing up so then I started stopping him from doing ____(whatever) so that I wouldn’t get into trouble. We’re not close now either. He couldn’t stand being bossed around by me and I couldn’t stand his actions getting me into trouble. I try to stay in contact with him but he’s not much for the phone and we live 1000 miles across country from each other. I have tried really hard not to do it with my kids and think I’ve succeeded for the most part. The boys are usually pretty tight.

    You are such a good person to go get them a present and be the bigger person!

  2. Wow, I know how that feels. Even though I am the middle child, my role has always been more of the older sibling. My sister and father, both excluded me from their weddings. I’m sorry for your hurt and I really admire your strength to step up and let her know how much you love her and really care for her. You’re in my prayers.

  3. I am the oldest of eight kids. I know that feeling of wanting to mother them. I’m glad you are going to buy your sis a wedding gift, I’m sure she will appreciate it even if she doesn’t show it. You might have to always be the one to make the effort to have a relationship with your siblings but don’t give up. Family is too important!

  4. I’m the oldest child as well. My brother has often said I was a mother hen. He didn’t seem to understand until he had his second child. I think watching his oldest and thinking back to our lives growing up made him realize in some ways that it wasn’t out of trying to smother him but that it was honestly out of love. We’re still not incredibly close but I will say at least now we’re there when it really counts. It’s taken time to get there…

  5. I understand your feelings about this situation. Younger family members once they are on their own feel that they know everything about life even though they have only been out there a minute. Sometimes to keep from hearing an opinion that they may not agree with from someone wiser, they won’t give that wiser person a chance to give a opinion. I am sure all your family members feel blessed to know that you will always make yourself available to be there for them when needed. They might not always show it, but I bet they love you more than you think they do for being the person that you are… We were all that age once, and I remember a saying my dad always told me ( sometimes you have to fall on your A** to know how hard the ground is…) (smile)

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