My brother and children seem to think they get treated unfairly in this blog, so this time it’s my sister’s turn. She turns fifty this week, so she is fair game.
My sister was born when I was eight and a half. Too much younger to be a friend when we were growing up. Not young enough for me to seem like a “junior mother.” We fought a lot as kids, because I thought she should do what I told her to, and she was stubborn enough to think she didn’t have to. Our parents put me in charge as the Big Sister, and I often didn’t handle it well.
I left home for college as my sister turned nine, and the gap between us still loomed large. Our experiences were too different. Or rather, I had too much more experience than she did. I was almost twice as old as she was when I left for college.
But now that we are both in our fifties, the gap has shrunk. We have both been married and raised children. We have both had professional educations and lengthy careers. We have far more similar experiences, and I am now only 17% older than she is (which still sounds like more than I want).
Our lives are still different. I’m retired, and my sister is working. My kids have been gone from home over a decade, and hers are in high school and college. But the gap still feels smaller and the kinship greater.
One good thing to come from my mother’s illness and death has been that my sister, brother, and I have had to talk more. Both these siblings live in the Seattle area, and I am in Kansas City. But despite the physical distance between us, I feel as close to them now as I ever have.
I respect them as adults as I didn’t when they were preschoolers. And I have confidence that we can meet any family challenges with affection and good intentions.
Happy Birthday, Sister!