Brothers & Sisters
Yesterday my best friend’s older sister died. Her older brother died a couple years ago leaving her the oldest. Being a big brother or sister is a huge responsibility. It is a place of influence. In fact parents, at least my parents, held me responsible for any punishable offense by the mere tattle of one of my siblings. They expected me to set the example and to function as a “second mom” whenever they needed someone to watch M, J and D.
Unfortunately, I had more power than I should have been given. At least I feel I was not given enough input on the care that been entrusted to me. Even though I was a rather compliant child, my sinful nature often showed up in some of my mean pranks, my angry heart at feeling ignored with my perceived needs unmet, the forced self-reliance due to the attention the younger sibs got because they needed it, or my own jealousy at not being allowed the same leniency it seemed they got. After all I was older and should know better! It was a job I probably resented more than took seriously. when I was young. I I wish I had done a better job at thinking about the long term consequences of what I was teaching them by both my word and my life. At the same time, I loved my brothers and sister and I can remember often feeling protective and defensive of them.
I think as I moved into adolescence I finally grasped the concept of my role as the oldest child and embraced both my siblings and the job with a genuine and loving heart. But all the havoc before that was a very mixed bag for which I am often ashamed.
My memories of growing up are similar to my brothers and sisters but they are also unique. I remember different things than they do and I do remember events from my own vantage point. We each have our own perspective on history. I pray they know how much I love them. I hope they have forgiven me for some of my mistreatment of them. I wonder if they remember me for the good things I did more than they think of my character flaws.
My life is better because I have walked through it with them. I am who I am because of each of them. They know me longest and best (now that Jim is gone). Thank you God for my siblings.