Today is my little sister’s birthday. I won’t tell you her age, but she does act like the older sister most of the time.
So if you see T. Please sing her happy birthday. She will smile and tell you thank you. She will say she doesn’t care, she’s not a “selfie” person. T will never seek the lime light, but she finds herself there more often than not because of her feisty, fierce and outspoken voice on subjects such as ranch life, politics and stupidity.
I am not as well versed as she is, nor is my hand shake quite as strong. Her wit is quick and dry; I am more prone to bluntness and a loud laugh. We are both loud. That’s a family trait. A family of four that didn’t realize we were so loud until we are telling our children to shush.
We are sisters. Not twins. Not mirror images of each other and so we have had many years to navigate our differences in the best way we can. This started from the time we shared a bedroom. We had bunk beds and then needed independence. The beds were split apart and a toy box was put between us and my mess.
My sister was my first friend. My mom tells me I was so excited to see her, I bit her finger. I was 2 okay. I had also had a lot of freedom and our parents up until this moment. As my niece once said about her brother, “I told you we didn’t need a baby.” T always had the softest heart, saving living creatures, and crying over injured animals.
We grew up taking adventures together, dressing kittens in doll clothes and learning to run from roosters.
You see, my dad sent two little girls off to gather eggs. The coop was around the other side of the barn. The chickens tend to free range, so gathering eggs wasn’t a problem. In and out. Until the rooster. This took planning and preparation. We would make it the garage, run to the end of the barn and scout out the situation. The most important thing was to find the beast, the second thing was to pick the “runner.” The runner took one for the team and ran her little heart out to distract the rooster. That rooster didn’t live long.
We absolutely see the best in each other and we absolutely call it as we see it. I think we both regret not stating more of an opinion in the others life, and so now being a little more, ahem, experienced, we now will ask hard questions and tell hard truths.
My parents instilled a strong sense of family from the beginning. They pushed, forced, told me to take her with me. Every where. If I was going, so was she. Was this always a good thing? Most likely not. I was the older sister. I was also the one prone to find fun. I was told, held liable, for her safety. I always got her home. I always knew where she was at….most of the time.
As I have gone through this life I have taken many lessons of being her older sister with me. I think that is, for good or bad, the reason I am so very protective of other relationships in my life. I have a hard time knowing when to leave the table. I would like to think that I am a fierce and loyal friend, but I have been taught that not everyone that I bring into my life is meant to stay. That it’s okay to be different.
When growing up with siblings, it’s hard not to compare yourself because everyone else is so busy doing the same. Features, body types, personalities all get torn apart and put to the test. Self esteem takes a hit as you grow, but the best advice is to remember you are not your sibling and they are not you.
I am allowed to call her on her shit; you are not.
As we have gown up; I would like to say we have grown. She still likes her room arranged just so and I still have a pile or three; she will out work me any given day in her tenacity to just get it done.
We still gather cows with our dad and he still sends off together; we tell him we will do it but not well. He still checks on us, riding up on that hill to see if we are even going the right direction. We still don’t have a clue.
I now pat the horse and tell him he is dong a great job and she says things to me like, “You telling him he did a good job and patting him on the neck cracks me up. Did he do a good job or was he just an asshole the whole time?”
T now likes to tell me what to do and I walk away.
I am the oldest after all.
Happy Birthday T.