Tuesday, 4 July 2017

two sisters

The day I became a big sister

I was playing with friends,outside and I was called in to have a photo with her. I probably tutted under my breath (it was the 70s and I'm from a West Indian family - I tutted at my peril) and dutifully ran indoors. For seven years I had been an only child. Eldest grandchild from eldest parents. A sacred place at the top of the lowest branch on the family tree.

And then she came along. Snuffling and crying with the tiniest nostrils I had ever seen. My baby sister. 

The whole dynamic of the house actually changed before she arrived as my Mum had to go into hospital well before she was born, meaning she missed by 7th birthday party. Notice I have no recollection as to why she went into hospital. I was only child and it was my birthday. I may have tutted a little bit louder that day. Anyway my fave aunt saved the day but I suspect there was always a little bit of blame placed at the tiny feet of my new sibling.

As a big sister, I imagined all kinds of spoils would be bestowed upon me. A crown, possibly a tartan cape or maybe just more time watching The Fonz, now that another tiny person had taken the attention from me.

Instead, I learnt about the 'go and get'. Go and get more nappies for the baby. Go and get some clothes for your sister. Go and get...I forget what else but whatever it was, it involved stairs. So a silent promise was made in the year of our Lord 1977. I would spend my adult life living in a bungalow. No stairs whatsoever. And, I chirped sagaciously, when I had children I would never ask them to go upstairs to bring things back down.

Hmm-mmm the beauty of childhood, right?

I didn't live in a bungalow. I do send my children upstairs to get things. And I love the fact that my sister is someone so very different from me except when it comes to humour - we have laughed to aching tummies about the daftest things - and Eurovision; now our most honoured family tradition.

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