David's Big Sister
“But, WHY?” I choked. “Don’t you love ME anymore?” It was difficult for me to wrap my (until then “only-child”) mind around the idea that I would now have to share – everything. No longer would I be the center of attention. No longer would I bask alone, in the glow of my parents’ love.
I knew it was selfish, but I didn’t want to share. I wasn’t good at it. I didn’t want to be anyone’s big sister.
Time passed. The house began to fill with tiny little clothes, snuggly baby blankets, and infant furniture. There were Teddy Bears and mobiles to admire. I would watch my Mother gently rubbing her swollen belly – talking and singing to the little person living inside. I started to imagine that a sibling might become an ally, a confidant, a friend. Slowly, I began to come around to the idea of sharing my family with this tiny intruder.
And then on October 12, 1983, while watching TV at the Babysitter’s house, the phone rang. I held the bulky receiver to my ear with a trembling hand, and heard Dad proudly say, “It’s a Boy!”
And for some reason those three words changed my outlook once an for all. I wasn’t just a Big Sister. I was the Big Sister to a Little Brother. I was “David’s Big Sister”. It would be my job to protect him, to help my folks take care of him, to give him hugs and spoil him.
Even before I saw him with my own eyes, my heart filled with love for the newest addition to our family. Over all these years, that love hasn’t wavered.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been days when my baby brother irritated me beyond belief.
When they first brought him home, it became clear that my dog Lucky did not like the new baby. Fearing for David's safety, my parents had to make a tough choice. When Dad told me that they’d found a new home for my canine companion, I was crushed….but I got over it.
As a toddler David once smacked me in the mouth with his waffle ball bat. I’d gotten braces on my teeth just that morning and the pain of a busted lip was almost unbearable…but I got over it.
When he was a little older still, and we would go on vacations, we would fight over who had more space in the backseat. He drove me crazy, poking his feet (in Ninja Turtle sandals) into my space….but I got over it.
As a teenager, he was a parent’s dream child. He didn’t stay out late. He didn’t lie about where he’d been, or make up excuses. He didn’t yell at our folks or throw things. He was a good kid – the opposite of his older sister at the same age. Was I annoyed that he was showing me up? Yes, I was… but I got over that too.
He probably has some stories he could tell too, but alas he has no blog so I guess you’ll just have to hear my side of our sibling saga. **insert evil big-sister laughter here**
The truth is that all those years ago, I worried for nothing. Yes, our family grew and I was no longer the lone center of attention. But I didn’t lose anything at all. My parents still loved me unconditionally. They were there for me when I needed them. They loved me no matter what. And they did the same for David. In a way (because of the big age gap), we were both “only children”, living in parallel sibling universes:
• When he was learning to ride his tricycle and playing with toy trucks, I was in Jr. High school – immersed in social and school activities which kept me away from home.
• When I was moving out to my first apartment, he was in grade school writing English papers and learning about the American Civil War.
• When I moved out of state for some adventure, he was entering High School.
• When he went to college, I was getting married.
• When my Little Guy was born, my brother was enjoying his first real job.
So, because our life paths have been on very different tracks since the beginning, we’ve never had to compete as some siblings do. We’ve just always been there for each other. We’ve been able to keep in touch and stay close over the years.
My Little Brother is an awesome guy. He is smart and funny and loyal and kind. He has integrity and firmly stands by his beliefs. He is a man of God. I’m terribly proud of him, and consider our friendship one of my most treasured relationships.
I couldn’t be luckier than to be “David’s Big Sister.”
Happy Birthday Kiddo! I love you.