January 25, 2011

A Letter to My Siblings

Last year, I started a 30-day letter writing challenge. I haven't kept up with it, but I haven't quit either. Today is my next installment. For those of you not interested in my letter, you can while away the time here. Don't believe you can keep any money you win, though. Sooner or later, the house always wins.

This letter has stumped me for several months, partially because I have 5 siblings. I didn't want to choose just one, and couldn't figure out how to encompass the entire experience that was growing up with them all. Warning: this is going to be a longish post. You still have time to go here.
I'm gonna catch it for posting this pic! How 80s can you get?
And btw, that's my Mom getting her masters in business, so YAY her!

To my dear siblings:

We certainly had a heck of a ride, growing up in that great big house together, didn't we? It's amazing now, to talk with each of you and hear how you remember things. Everyone has a different perspective. I thought I would share a little of mine.

Big Bro, you've always been such an enigma. The oldest, it was a joy when you decided to play with me. Even if you did tickle me so much I resist being ticklish to this day. Even if you did knock my loose tooth out. You taught me to swear. I'm pretty sure it was you who told me brown eggs were rooster eggs, a "fact" I never questioned. It wasn't until high school that I learned brown hens laid brown eggs.

I remember sitting on the stairs while your band practiced, and bragging to my friends about Mannequin Parade. Soon after, you moved out of the house. You were married. Our lives went in different directions.
Our adult relationship has not always been as close as I would prefer, in part because I've often tended toward hermitage. Thank you for being there the day half my electricity went out. Thank you for putting in my new back door. For the record, the back door is more air-tight than the front, which I paid to have replaced. Also for the record, I still look up to you. We don't always agree on things, but you are an inspiration, and I love you.

Princess, you chose me to share your room, and were my bestest friend for many years. You took care of all of us, making sure we were up and ready for school. I guess that's what big sisters do. When you started working, you didn't leave us little sisters behind. You invited us out for lunch, or a shopping trip. I think you learned that from Gram, and I love both you and her for it. You've always been the connected one, the one who calls to see how things are, the one who keeps the family communicating. You hold our traditions, as well as Gram's cookbook. You're also still the pretty one.
We've come round robin, you and I. After a long disconnect, you are now my best friend again. I talk to you more often than just about anyone, and I don't think anyone can keep me on the phone as long as you can. I value your opinion, and am your biggest cheerleader. I miss you terribly since you moved to Florida, even though it was the best thing for you. While you've hit a rough patch right now, I know it's only a bump in the road. You will come out ahead. You too are an inspiration, and though I say it every time we talk, I can't say it enough. I love you.

Little Big Sister, what can I say? I've been your protector, your friend, your Dear Abby. You have been my constant supporter, no matter what endeavor I chose to pursue. You've been on your own and away from the family the longest, and there certainly is a disconnect associated with that. You used to be the one I talked to most, but we've grown apart. This is not because I love you any less.
I have always been the dreamer. You were always the romantic. I could wish you'd stayed closer to the fold, but you found the love of your life in Illinois. It's been a hard road for you, but you've grown and blossomed along the way. You've found yourself in a way I'm certain you would not have, had you stayed nearby. I am happy for you. I should call you. You can tell me about the grandkids, and what the stepkids are up to. It's been too long.

Energizer Bunny, why do you have to be so perfect? I'm joking, but only some. I know you don't see it that way, and I'm sure there are cracks not apparent to me, but you have the perfect textbook life from my perspective. The doctorate. The teaching position. The family. You run. You climb. You always have time for everyone, and I'm not entirely sure you have enough time for yourself. Yet you make time for me.
We have only recently found our relationship, and I'm not certain why it took so long. Maybe because I was just too wrapped up in myself to notice my little sister. I'm certainly glad to get to know you now! You never did tell me what your February looks like, so we can make a climbing date. My knee is healing, and if it isn't quite there yet I can still belay for you, and we can catch up. Maybe we can get on Big Bro's calendar, too.

Dr. J., my relationship with you has been the most difficult. In the same way I ignored the Energizer Bunny, I ignored you. We've had some close times, and we've had some differences. There were times I felt you didn't respect me, and times I'm sure you were hurt by my actions. Through it all, I never stopped loving you. I never stopped being impressed by your intelligence and your drive.
You also have been out of state and out of the fold. You've been subject to my difficulty in reaching out. I've not always known what to say to you, or what we have in common. Somehow though, once we start talking, we find things to talk about. We should do that more often. I should call you, too.

Each of you is a part of who I am, and I'm grateful to know you, to have grown up with you. The thing about all of you, my siblings, is I know I can call you. We don't always communicate well, and boy does the family blow up sometimes when we disagree, but I know I can count on you. I know, no matter our differences, we will always be there for each other. I will always be there for you. I've heard of some families where this is not the case, between fewer siblings than we have. With all your different personalities and proclivities, every one of you is loved.

5 comments:

Rose said...

These are great. Are you actually going to send them?

Emz said...

the best idea.
e v e r.

why am I crying?

i
love
this.

ShebaJC said...

@Rose, most of my family has probably already read them here, but yes, the ones who do not frequent my blog will find a link in their email.

Jackie said...

I love you 2 and I agree we have not been as close since I moved but the 1 thing that I rely is that you are there when I need you
love always,
biggest lil sis

Energizer Bunny said...

It is odd to see yourself as other see you. You don't see in yourself the incredible courage that the rest of us see. Anyone reading this letter realizes the bravery involved in opening yourself up like this, especially with our communication-challenged family. You taught be to be brave. I remember you making me go on the Double Loop when we were buddied up at the amusement park On my own, I would not have gone on it at all. The first time, I had my eyes clenched tight with a death grip on the front bar. By the third time (in a row with no pause to catch my breath!), I had my eyes open, and on the fourth time (in a row!) I loved it, and love roller coasters still as a result. You taught me how to control my emotions, because I could never win an argument with you. We learned as adults how to make our relationship work, and I love the regular climbing dates when we can just hang out. Thanks for writing, and for reaching out. When ARE we climbing this month?

Much love!