I have one sister, Teri, who is 2.5 years younger than me. When we were younger and living on Shore Drive, we had to sleep in the same bed during the summers. This was back in the 80’s and my parents had not yet discovered the beautiful world of central air-conditioning. We had 2 window AC units that would get installed in the summers. The first went into mom and dad’s window to keep them and presumably their water bed, yes, I did say water bed, cool. Teri had a twin size and I had a full size, so the other unit went to my window, and Teri was relegated, like it or not, to sleeping in my bed.
I can recall the nightly sisterly “fighting” that would go on. There was also the typical, “Here’s the invisible line that separates my side of the bed from yours” spiel. I can only imagine the relief my parents must have felt when the heat of the Illinois summers was over, and we could finally be sleeping apart again!
There’s one other thing that I was remembering about all those summers spent sleeping with my sister. I can remember trying to convince her EVERY night to rub/tickle my back. Most of the time she didn’t want to, and I don’t really blame her for that. But being the older, wiser sister, I had ways of getting her to do what I wanted anyway. I used to pretend that it tickled me so much that I could hardly stand it, and being the little sis, she thought this was hilarious, and would keep on doing it. I am not going to lie, I thought my little charade quite brilliant, and I would still be using it to this day if it would guarantee a nice back-rub every time Teri and I get to hang out.
We’ve been through a lot since then, Teri and I. A lot of distance crept in over the years, and I don’t just mean the distance of me getting married and moving away. In so many ways, I think I drew imaginary lines around her, expecting her to be just like me. When she shockingly was not, I had a bit of trouble accepting her as she was. I wanted to be the big-sister-protector, the advice-giver, the clothes-loaner-outer, the role-model. If I’m being honest, I wanted her to think she had the world’s best big sister. I failed miserably. I didn’t realize it then, but now I see how very selfish I was in making everything she did or didn’t do, all about ME.
She has become such an amazing woman. Her husband thinks the world of her. She and her stepdaughter have the best relationship you could ever imagine. She became a mommy herself this past year, and she is one of those women that you see with their babies and think,”You were born to be a mom. It looks so natural for you.” I am so proud of her.
I have some regret in regards to how I handled things with Teri over the years, but mainly I have hope. I don’t try to manipulate her anymore. I just want her to know how very much she is loved and how very happy I am that she allows me to be in her life…even without the forced sleeping arrangements.