It’s near impossible to be a fabulous sibling. It’s way too difficult, there’s too much angst, too much giving, not enough getting. I have to accept too much, learn too much, evolve too much. I need to wake up to the fact that not everything is about me, there are other people with similar DNA, and they don’t all revolve around me …
the planets to my son … um, sun.
A few years ago, my siblings held a bridal shower for the princess of the group. The baby of six, the youngest by birth, the most spoilt, pampered, devoted-to child on the earth. She was getting married. Woo-foofing-hoo, I thought. That’s nice, I love her, but don’t even try to get me sitting around and playing frigging bridal games on a Saturday afternoon!? Not when there were so many other things to do and occupy my mind.
I was bullied. Even though I sulked and sighed, the combined weight of sibling-wrath bundled me into a car and took me off to an event where we dressed my youngest sib in loo paper and pretended she was. A BROIDE.
Why do people do this? I wondered at the time. Nowadays, I find myself wanting to be dressed up in a random roll of Sorbent and waltz around the house.
Much to my mortification, Lea took me aside. Bloody hell, I thought! She was — what? Forty-eight or so, and I was a decade younger. It wasn’t as though I was ten, she was twenty and she needed to set me straight about behaving like a moron.
‘Rosie. Not everything is about you, you know’ she said, for perhaps the 3458th time in our lives. Bitchily, the other siblings overheard and nodded their collective ‘hurrumphs’ in the background. The princess bride nodded her head so vigourously, the Sorbent swooshed off her skull, wiped across her cheek and wee-wee’d down on the floor between her legs I looked over, churlish.
‘Now come on. Join in. This is Princess Bride’s day and not yours. Ok?’
Amazing how the roles of older siblings-younger siblings remain so ingrained, we can be in our middle years and still behave like we did when we were kids. It’s why family hierarchy is so hard to break (if we want to do that). Birth position is dictated and we follow along the line, adopting the mantle of our Situational Spot.
I didn’t pout that day. Not for long, anyway, because even though I thought the toilet-paper-as-wedding-dress was a shit game, there was other fun to be had, other memories to make.
Our best siblings:
7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Again, not easy to do when a sibling has those pre-set button on your remote control, but if you can let the little things go through to the keeper, chances are that your sibling will be a great support during those humungous moments of life.
The last time I had a HUGE ruckus with a sibling, I betrayed her troth to others. It was like a snowball’s day in hell when she found out (lots of fire, freezing out, melting, the Cold War of Thaw) and the mistake I made was not accidental — it was stupid — but it taught heaps. I panicked at the time. In retrospect, it wasn’t such a ‘small’ thing so she had a right to ‘sweat it’, but since then I’ve realised what I needed to learn.
That she is, in fact, a bitch.
No, just kidding. Sort of.
8. Zero Pressure
As a family of sibs, I think we used to put more pressure on each other. To attend, to commit, to be something or someone we mightn’t actually be. Since things changed, we have a couple of inter-sibling sayings: one is ‘no bullshit’ (one sister swears. A LOT). The No BS policy is great. It gives us that right to communicate without artifice, to not have to play ‘nice’ when all we need to do is rant. Or vent.
The other saying is ‘no pressure’. Sometimes, I think I say this too much, but what it really does is reaffirm in my mind that there’s no pressure on me. Coz yeah, Lea, it always has been about me. ; -)
Our best sibling understands that we have friends. Or we need alone-time, or we need a break from full-on family commitments, or we need a cuppa and a chat about things. Our best sibling doesn’t hold a grudge if you don’t make it to Furry Friend’s footy match on the Saturday and Berty Beatle’s First Eucharist BBQ on the Sunday. Our best sibling doesn’t begrudge us if we choose to read a book instead of coming over, or work instead of going to a wedding shower with toilet paper activities.
Our best sibling will provide the toilet paper for when life goes down the crapper.