Did you know there was a day dedicated to celebrating siblings? Yep. April 10th is Siblings Day! Sibling rivalry was abundant in our household growing up. My sisters and I (each with nearly a two-year age gap) had extremely polarizing personalities. At times we were like night and day, hot and cold, oil and water. My older sister was conventional and a rule-follower, a studious learner. My other sister was girly, simple, easygoing, and carefree. And I (middle child) can only be characterized as the tomboyish one who was mostly difficult, exceptionally petty, overly sensitive, and a constant worrier. I generally tried to keep my daily idiosyncrasies to a reasonable level outside the home and went buck wild in the comfort of my own space. I was that kid that would throw tantrums so long I’d put myself to sleep with all the exhaustion of screaming and crying. With three strong and contrasting personalities under one roof, you had to anticipate misadventures and interesting times.
Looking back, I can say without a doubt I was the absolute definition of an asshole. I see it all so clearly now. I knew everyone’s weaknesses and took advantage of that. I knew if I held on to my bullish ways long enough, I could get exactly what I wanted. I fought hard to gain, knowing others would stand to lose. This proved to be accurate at my youngest sister’s sixth (can’t remember the exact age) birthday. She had opened her birthday gift and was so elated at the beautiful doll before her. She coveted anything pink and girly back then, I feel like. And this doll was everything she had ever wanted. Taking in this scene at that time and then feeling unfairly mistreated (for some unknown reason that only an eight-year-old might be able to conjure up), I selfishly demanded that my mom take me to the exact store where she got this doll (not later that day, not tomorrow) right then and there, I hollered. When I was told no, I threw a pitiful tantrum in the middle of my sister’s party. My mom eventually relented (as I’m sure all exhausted mothers of three sometimes do in order to regain some semblance of peace and quiet). When we got back, I showcased my doll to everyone like the brat that I was. My little sister stood motionless; her eyes seared into the depths of my evil soul like she could smother me with a pillow if only she could get away with murder.
This was the type of merciless antic I pulled as the asshole kid. Only I mattered- how I felt, what I wanted. If my sisters had something that brought them obvious joy (and it didn’t matter if it was a sentimental security blanket or an ordinary rock), I had to have it. If it brought you joy then, damnit, I needed some of that joy too. I had few morals at that age; I was an obnoxious and unscrupulous child. I like to think I’ve changed. Could I have interviewed my sisters for confirmation? Probably. Why didn’t I? Maybe I’m afraid of their answers, ha! I swear, I’m different now! Realistically, we all had asshole tendencies as most children do but my keen stubbornness was likely the root cause of most vicious fights between us. There were no boundaries. We leveraged each other’s insecurities against one another and when that didn’t cut deep enough, slippers and pillows (basically anything lightweight and portable) were utilized.
Through all the teenage drama and midnight brawls, my sisters and I somehow forged a deep and powerful bond. The structural foundation of that bond is having survived a childhood that was less-than-ideal, and knowing we got through it because of each other and our own sheer will to succeed. There’s a certain amount of angst all girls go through- not fitting in, not getting along, not being enough, not feeling quite whole- but no matter the differences we had, I always felt like I had a place where I belonged.
Lots of things are uncertain in this world but here’s what I know for sure: I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. Whatever good that is in me, whatever resiliency I possess, whatever light that shines through, it is all because of my sisters. I surely took them for granted early in life, but now more than ever I am so grateful for their presence. No one knows me like they do- no one has and no one ever will. In this maze of life, they are the hands I reach for when I run off-course. Without them, I’m not sure I’d be the wonderful tolerable human being I am today. If there was a Nobel prize for people who put up with more than one’s share of infinite crap in a lifetime, that prize would go to them (100%). They deserve the highest award in the land for dealing with my lunacy and I couldn’t be happier giving it to them! Unfortunately, though, they’ll just have to settle for this shoutout post.
So, I’d love to know, were you an only child? Did you ever wish for siblings? Let me know in the comments! 😊
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