I had to write something for a family member as an assignment for my Story Cartel on Becoming Writer (The Write Practice). After sending it to my sister I published it in the cartel workshop, and now I’m putting it here, because…well, just because.
I wanted a sister, and my mother refused to produce one.
It wasn’t that I was an only child. No such luck. She had three more after me…all boys. I was gracious after the first one (well, I was two, so pretty mindless about it then), and I gave her a pass after the second, but when she came home from the hospital with the third boy, I just lost it.
“Take it back!” I screamed, melting down into a lovely tantrum which contained all the despair and frustration of having to share my life with yet another boy. “I told you I didn’t want another brother! Take it back to the hospital and don’t come back without a girl!” As if any sensible infant, girl or boy, would want to live in a home with a screaming banshee in it. But my poor third brother had no choice, and I wasn’t in charge after all, so in he came.
Four years later, the law of averages finally kicking in, my mother had a girl. Too little, too late. I was twelve years old by then, way too ancient to bond with an infant. She was cute, and cuddly, and I got to change all the diapers I wanted. Turns out girl diapers aren’t much different than boy diapers when all is said and done. They all stink. And I was into school stuff by then; no time for a baby of any sex. She grew up closer to the brothers than to me, and I had a pre-teen and then a teenage life to lead, so I didn’t mind much.
I went off to college, where I met my future husband, and saw my sister as if through a glass darkly, in little snippets of visits during holidays. After I was married I moved away, and saw her even less. The sister I’d wanted so badly was a stranger.
Then something happened. My sister grew up, and that magic that shrinks the years between began to bring us closer together. We were both adults; we had things to talk about. And I found that my sister was a real person, a human being who was actually much like me. We shared a wry sense of humor, we could both be bitches at times—don’t ask the brothers how many times—and we realised that we liked each other.
We live across the country from each other now; I have kids and she has dogs. But when we get together, the magic is there. We laugh, sometimes we cry, we bake brownies and eat chips…we love.
I have a sister.