Friday, September 21, 2007


God made big sisters for several reasons—many good ones and a few not-so-good.

First of all, without needing to look it up, parents REMEMBER big sisters’ birth weight and height, the day they started drooling, or grabbed their big toe (thankfully, the rest of us have at least the weight and height part recorded in our baby books). And speaking of baby books, theirs are a work of art, filled with details of their development, each little syllable recorded for posterity, pictures galore of each new accomplishment, studio pictures even—taken by a professional—of big sister decked out with ribbons in her hair. Me? The odd time I had a studio picture taken, the night before my big brother took a scissors to one side of my head leaving me looking like a lop-sided ET.

God knew parents needed to try out their theories on some one about child raising. That meant big sisters got lots of SPANKINGS, heard “NO!” hundreds of times, and played in the confined space of a play pen. By the time I came along, my parents were tired and let me do what I wanted.

Parents also tend to be more protective of big sisters. Care is taken to sterilize, scrub and disinfect anything that baby might place in her mouth, but by the time I came along, I held my own bottle, ate food that had dropped on the floor, and was entrusted to the care of my big sister, who instead of feeding me my cereal, impatiently spooned it in a crack between the kitchen cupboards. (Now you know why they called me the Biafra Baby).

Big sisters are TAKEN to school, not sent. Mothers want to physically SEE that they are in the school building, need to be waiting to take them home when school is out. Years later that made it easy for me to walk across the field on my way home from school and ride with the neighbors without a twitch of anxiety on my Mom’s part.

Big sisters have to WORK HARD at being an example to the younger siblings. That way they get to do ALL the work while we watch.

Big sisters get to take baton twirling lessons, join Brownies, take figure skating, piano lessons and what-have-you lessons while we younger ones have to learn on our own.

Big sisters get NEW clothes while we have to wear their last year’s Easter dress.

Big sisters get to stay up later, get a BIGGER allowance, and hundreds of privileges reserved only for them. We’re lucky if father is still paying allowances when we get old enough to do simple math.

Big sisters get to CHOOSE the games we play and can use the power of their larger vocabulary and manipulative skills, plus their physical strength to get their way.

Big sisters get to drive a car FIRST, go on a date FIRST, and leave home FIRST.

But . . .

Big sisters also watch out for you when you’re feeling timid and afraid in the middle of a crowd of people.

Big sisters wash your hair, even though they lie about it turning the colors of a rainbow.

Big sisters let you play with their paper dolls after falling in the river.

Big sisters are fun to copy.

Big sisters let you play with their toys if you’re careful.

Big sisters cook your meals, wash the dishes, clean the house and iron your clothes.

Big sisters make one proud.

Big sisters model kindness, generosity, unselfishness and love.

Big sisters show by their life that if they can do it, you can, too.

Big sisters are people to look up to and emulate.

Big sisters love you and when you’re older become your best friend.

Happy Birthday to my big sis, Cathie!

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