I was looking at my little sister today. She’s getting ready to have her second baby. “Little” sisters having babies is still something that shocks me.
I was ten when she was born. I remember her being born. I remember changing her diaper. I remember waking her up just so I could hold her. Okay, I would get bored with her and be done with her. Until I couldn’t be around her again. Then she’d be sleeping again. More than once (or a hundred) mom would yell at me “if you wake her up you’re going to be watching her!” I watched her a lot.
I hit her in the head once with an aluminum bat. It wasn’t my intention. It’s not like I wanted to hit her in the head. But we were playing ball and she kept hanging on me trying to take the bat. She would have been two or three. I kept telling her no because it was my turn to bat. I swung to hit the ball and she had come back to get the bat. I missed the ball. But somehow managed to hit her. She was fine, better than I was. I was scared. Dad was yelling at me asking me if I was happy now. Uhm. No. There was nothing happy about that. I would like to know why he didn’t make her stop trying to take the bat while it was my turn to hit. I don’t care if she was two or three. I was twelve and we were playing ball. But she was the baby. And suddenly when she got clobbered in the head with an aluminum bat I was no longer the good big sister who loved her. I was the monster who hit her in the head with a bat.
It scarred me. I didn’t ever want to hit her in the head with the bat.
What was I talking about?
Oh, my little sister.
As siblings I think we all know stuff about one another that others don’t know. Being ten years older I have more memories of her childhood than I have of my own. I remember taking her in to the closet and closing the door and yelling “the boogy man is going to get us” just so she would hug me. Oh don’t judge me! You all did something stupid when you were twelve too! She would hug me. I also took her trick or treating. I held her when she was sick. I fed her. I played with her. And she slept in my room as a baby and kept me awake. But I don’t remember it bothering me. I do remember her being the cutest thing ever. I remember my brothers taking her to kindergarten on their motorcycles. Not everyone got rides to school on motorcycles by their big brothers. I remember every one of us wanting to be the one she wanted to have hold her. I remember the rest of us hugging and loving her, but we’d punch each other before hugging one of the other siblings. I remember when she finally got hair, and it got curly. I remember when she got teeth, then they fell out, then she got them again. What was up with that? I remember her and our brother closest in age to her being best friends. I remember dad calling her “Punkin”. I remember getting mad because I always had to watch her.
When I got married (the first time….geez I hate saying that) it was on her birthday and we sang happy birthday to her at the reception.
When I had my first child, she was almost twelve. And she spent a lot of time with me and my first baby. She would stay with me for weekends. She would dress the baby up. She would hold her. Feed her. She painted her pictures that I hung in the baby’s room. She loved her. And she never hit her in the head with an aluminum baseball bat. So she’s at least one notch better than me on child care. And I’m pretty sure she never tried to scare the bejeebers out of my baby. Maybe she’s two notches better than me on child care. But, then again, she is my sibling. She is my daughter’s aunt. Different relationships so I think it’s fair that I had more liberties. Or screw ups. Whatever.
But I’m looking at her today. And thinking how strange….she still looks like the little baby with no hair that mom and dad brought home a few (or more) years ago. I still see the child that is my sister. Yet I see through her child, the mom.
I’m pretty much over the being mad about having had to watch her all of the time. And kind of wishing, now, that I had that time again.
I was watching her today. A little shocked that we’re here. So far away from there. Then. And still I watch her.