It’s my big sister’s birthday today, or more likely yesterday by the time I’ve posted this. She’s a whole 20 months older than me, my first partner in crime, the only person who absolutely ‘gets us’ as a family. There have been so many times in my life where this girl has saved my bacon. She’s lied for me, paved the way to freedom by being angel teenager, made me laugh, made me cry, built up my confidence and got the better of me more times than I care to remember.
I’ve been trying to put into words exactly what it is about having a sister that is so special, there were all the obvious things; the fact that she shares everything with me, she gets why I’m the way I am, why our family is slightly crackers and so forth. That’s the same for everyone who is lucky enough to have a sibling, isn’t it?
My sister is different. She came along blessed with the patience of my mother, the wit of my father and a genuine goodness I can only dream of. I only hope my children treasure their sisters as much as I do.
Amongst all the lovely things you are lucky enough to have, you all share one thing, in all your differences. We have given each of you a gift that many people aren’t lucky enough to appreciate; the gift of a sister.
Darling boy, you have this gift twice over, I know sometimes this feels less of a blessing and more of a curse, but bear with me. Sisters are the backbone of the family. A good sister is as good as a mum, but a bit cooler and more likely to enjoy swearing and wine. Don’t get me wrong, mums enjoy those things too, but sisters are not as likely to judge you and announce over a family roast that they had to hold your hair back last night, or that you told the taxi driver you loved him. A good sister will quietly hand you the purse you left on the front path without a lecture about home security and nagging speech about personal responsibility. They generally just throw you a knowing look, that simply says it’s good job I got there before Dad!
My girls, you are so close together in age, at times this will drive you up the wall, will make you despair and anguish; why does she have to copy me? Why is she always there? Both of these traits I inflicted on my older sister frequently in our teenage years and she never got cross with me once (see? Told you she was amazing). But Little One you have to listen, she’s been there before you, she’s done it first and if she won’t let you do it, it may well be because she doesn’t want you to get hurt. For my Big Girl, the responsibility to look after your little sister and support her, may be a bore. It may be unfair and annoying; but it’s only because I trust you. She is and always will be my baby. Look after her.
One day when I’m not here (yes, we’ve talked a lot about death and I promise I’ll do my best to make sure it’s not for a really long time, thanks for the tips about crossing the road and shouting at me when I look at my phone in the car – I need that) you will have each other. You will look at each other and recognise traits of me and your dad (sorry) you will always remember things about your childhood and understand (I hope) that we loved you so much.
So listen up; when you argue and wind each other up; when your brother growls and kicks the football oh so close to where you happen to be playing ‘Butterflies’ with your sister; when your sister copies every word you say, or refuses to let you jump on the trampoline because there is a beetle ‘crossing the road’, just remember that there will come a time when you really need each other. Perhaps it’ll be for something serious, but more often than not, it will be that you’ve locked yourself out again, you can’t remember when your Aunt’s birthday is or you think me and your Dad are losing the plot (again). You will look back on this time when things were so straightforward, when all I had to do was keep you happy (and failed much of the time) when the biggest decision of the day revolved around the shape of your toast, the length of your dress (or the ‘spin-ability’ of the skirt), whether you had Wayne Rooney in your Match Attax folder or what was for pudding.
Love your sisters, they are a gift from us to you. Even though sometimes it may seem like a new Microscooter might have been more considerate, you are so lucky to have them. Just like I am.
Love you always,