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!