I’m jetting off to England for a week at the end of August, primarily to see my little sister B and her family. She called me this morning, telling me she’s bringing my ice skates with her and the watch and clothes I left in Canada at Christmas. This got me thinking …
I was always my mom’s favorite. She will deny it, of course, claiming my two sisters were just as loved and doted on as I was, but my whole family knows this is not the case. Now, I’m not saying my mom doesn’t love my two sisters, she does, it’s just that I’ve was, and continue to be, the greatest object of her family affection. Why this is so, I have no real idea, although I could speculate. Mom had to have steroid injections and many other medications to bring me to term so perhaps I’m seen as a little gift (how could I not suffer from an over-inflated ego with that thought running through my head)? Maybe she just had a hunch I’d be a shoe-in for greatness and wanted to keep in my good books all those years ago (again, not doing my ego any good but I made this theory up myself)? Or there’s some other reason I haven’t explored yet because it doesn’t add to my already impressive ego.
At dinners mom would set aside a second plate of food so I could take it to work for lunch the next day. Whenever dad would ground me, mom would un-ground me. My two sisters would get told off for using the word “shit” at the table (even as adults), while I could drop F-bombs with ease and have mom chuckling at my wit. Yes, I was the Golden Child, I’m afraid, and as much as this will pain me and my ego to write and admit, I think mom got it all wrong.
Eleven years separate my sisters and I, and oddly enough, I’m pretty much smack dab in the middle of them in that age gap. I was too young to be party to any of my older sister’s shenanigans, and too old to “rock out” with my little sister and her shenanigans. And that was fine. At the time, I didn’t really give a toss about what either of them thought or cared. I was cooler than them both, and my assorted collection of misfit and deviant friends growing up knew that.
Geraint, B, and S
I loathed liking my sisters. My little sister, especially, bore the brunt of my ill will and desire to be cool in front of a group of people I no longer talk to. Blinded by acceptance, perhaps, I was an absolute shit to my little sister growing up. I have few regrets in life, all things happen for a reason, but I do regret my actions towards my little sister B when we were growing up. Surely mom and dad knew, B must have told them, and if she didn’t, well, I am at a loss for words.
I learned my lesson with my older sister the hard way. She had a friend over, a particularly “hot” friend, and in a moment of stupidity brought on by my vain attempts at being mature when barely over 11 years old, I decided to show off my vocabulary and call my older sister a word that rhymed with hunt and started with the third letter of the alphabet.
How many of you remember Hot Wheels? Do you remember that you could buy racetracks for them as well? Basically, these racetracks were sections of plastic about a foot long that you joined together to create a longer track. I had one of those. My older sister found a section of that track and whipped my three times across the back with it. I had three welts, each about 2 inches wide and 8 inches long. Her friend managed to sit on me long enough for them to put concealer over the welts before my parents came home. Knowing I’d be reluctant to take a bath to show off the wounds, my older sister got away with this attack until I found the strength to tell on her. Then when she said why she hit me she was in the right again.
B, however, was too young to realize what S did and suffered at my hands repeatedly. I nearly killed her one day in our backyard, quite by accident on this occasion, when a friend had left his archery set at our house and I fired an arrow straight up into the air to see how high it would go. Yeah, I was and still am an idiot. Of course we couldn’t see it until it drove itself into the ground a scant few inches from B. We laughed it off. Worse, I thought shortly afterwards, what if it hit our dog, Fluffy? How would I have explained that one?
B and I were always closer growing up than S and I were. As the youngest, B would often be dragged to my soccer and hockey games, S was old enough to look after herself at home. B and I would go camping during the summer with dad, often for weeks at a time, while S stayed behind to work or go to the ranch and ride her horse. B and I should have had one of those brother-sister bonds that defy definition. But you could define our relationship as such – thug and victim.
B became my wrestling dummy, my punching bag, and my second bank account when I had spent all my money and I knew where she kept her money from her paper route. I could write thousands of words on how bad I was to her, and offer a thousand apologies for things she’s already forgiven or forgotten about, but it sometimes fails to ease my mind. The worst of it came one day at the local field when my friends and I were playing soccer. B was there with her friends and me being the supposedly cooler older brother, decided it was time I show my friends just how much control I had over her. I don’t know how many times I pushed her over and kicked a soccer ball at her or kicked her; but I did it. I did it, laughing the whole time. Why I never got punished is for B to tell me. Why she never told is beyond me.
When she finally decided to punch back one day, right in the balls, our relationship changed. I peed blood for a week, and didn’t tell anybody about it. She fought back, ending my reign as dickhead older brother. And we became the best of friends; even though I know I didn’t deserve as much from her.
Nowadays, our familial relationship is totally changed. Age does that to people. Maturity does that to men. I will proudly tell you that S and B are too of the most beautiful women you will ever meet. I will proudly say that very few of the guys I know would be worthy of dating them if neither of them were married. I will proudly say that I love them, even though I don’t deserve that love back in a lot of cases.
And none more so than B. When she laughs and mocks me for being the “Golden Child”, mom’s favorite, or the kid who can do no wrong, I laugh with her but know the truth. I am but a fraction of the person that B was, is, and will continue to be. Had the shoes been on the other foot, I doubt I would have had the compassion and honesty and bravery to still call me family. But she did, and she continues to talk about her big brother proudly, as only the best of younger sisters can.
I guess that is what makes a family a family. Your family will forgive you long before you will forgive yourself.