Monday, May 16, 2011

On Being a Big Sister and a Mom

"A sister is one of the nicest things that can happen to anyone." ~ Author Unknown 

Having my two girls has afforded me the opportunity to better understand my relationship with my own sister. I see a lot of myself in both girls but I also see some of my little sister in them. One of my girls may as well BE my sister or HER child, they are so similar. I am more sympathetic to the role of a younger sister now. I see the injustices that happen to the baby sister - waiting to get go to the Big Kid School, spend the night with friends and slumber parties, earn privileges and responsibilities, etc. The younger sister is told over and over again that they have to "get bigger first." Nothing appears to be fair to the younger one. Conversely, the baby gets away with more with mom and dad and they get to be The Baby with less responsibilities and expectations. Of course life is unfair and we all learn that early. It will only get more unfair the older we get. But there are injustices to being the older one too. Cinderella was forced to grow up faster than Sleeping Beauty. She was helping me with Baby Sleeping Beauty before she was even three years old. She had to become more independent in many ways because I always had a baby in my arms. And she did well but a part of my heart broke for her. She was no longer The Baby. The night before I had Sleeping Beauty (I just knew I'd have her the next day, and I did) we were finishing up dinner and sitting around talking. Cinderella had climbed up into her daddy's lap. 
Brand new Baby Me and my Mom
All was right with the world.

It was just The Three of Us. 

Little Me Circa 1979
Then I started crying.  I was 38 weeks and one day pregnant, tired and large.  Life was about to change BIG TIME.  I was a hot mess of hormones.  I suddenly (yes, just then) realized I'd have TWO GIRLS that depended on me for almost everything.  (I guess I should share at some point  how very hard this pregnancy was for me emotionally.  I cried A LOT at first.  I didn't think I could handle two kids but God knew better - thankfully.)  I am so glad I got through the dark times and can now enjoy my two girls.  But it is NOT easy and I do get tired, cranky and fed up.  I fall asleep praying I can parent one (you know who) the way she needs to be parented and that I have the strength and resolve to do so.   I may share more on the emotional aspects of my pregnancies and raising two girls at a  later date.  

My last birthday (2nd) as an only child  ;) with my dad:
I was ALL ABOUT Mickey and I do remember this cake.
Anyway, when I was asked what was wrong the night before I had Sleeping Beauty, I told The King of the Crazies, "Cinderella probably won't remember life before her sister."  It made me sad that she wouldn't be the center of our universe anymore and sadder still that she wouldn't remember the time when she was.  Now do NOT get me wrong.  She still is, but she shares the stage with her little sister.  Then right after I answered him I remembered all the fun I had growing up with a sister.  The tears were short lived and Cinderella happily grasped hold of her new, more grown up role of The Big Sister.  It took me a little longer, in all honesty, to get used to having two kids instead of one.  It wasn't until I was about three or four months out after having Sleeping Beauty that I felt even remotely capable of taking care of the both of them on my own.  Cinderella remembers bits and pieces of her life before Sleeping Beauty just as I remember bits and pieces of my life before my little sister came along.  But it wasn't necessarily a better life without our baby sisters - contrary to what I used to tell my sister  ;)  - before our sisters came into our lives and into our hearts...It was just different. And as I said, I remember very little of my life before being a Big Sister.  What I do recall comes to me in the form of flashback photos and often times it is random.  It is crazy how that is but I can remember some things in great detail.  After the addition of  a Baby Sister, for me and for Cinderella, there was more love, more hugs and more kisses to go around.  Best of all, they will ALWAYS have someone to play with just like I did and they share many of their friends even now.

"You keep your past by having sisters.  As you get older, they're the only ones who don't get bored if you talk about your memories."  ~Deborah Moggach

"We know one another's faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can each hang by our hands to a bar.  We have been banded together under pack codes and tribal laws."  ~Rose Macaulay

I think this picture of me (right) with my mom and sister is HI-LARIOUS! 
Maybe still not sure about my new sister. 1980

"A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life."  ~Isadora James

Keeping my baby safe - early 80's

As sisters we share our childhood memories.  I saw this one going through my picture files and knew I had to post it for my sister:

"Sisters don't need words.  They have perfected a language of snarls and smiles and frowns and winks - expressions of shocked surprise and incredulity and disbelief.  Sniffs and snorts and gasps and sighs - that can undermine any tale you're telling."  ~Pam Brown

A sentence.  A glance.  A familiar smell or a facial expression between me and my sister can speak volumes.  It can speak years of history.  Some (most) of the best memories I have from my childhood have my sister right there with me.  I am hoping my girls have the same relationship with one another.

"You can kid the world.  But not your sister."  ~Charlotte Gray

Living it up in Italy 80's style!  (I am on the left.)
As is normal, growing up we did have squabbles.  Many of them were ugly.  Most of them involved clothes or makeup.  But we always moved past it fast and to this day I will forgive my sister faster than most anyone because I love her so much.  She (and her husband) are the people we (Tim and I)  entrust the kids with if something happened to both of us because she is the closest thing (or person) there is to me and it wouldn't be so hard on the kids to be without us if they had her.  With my girls, I do sometimes see "The Green Eyed Monster" (what my mom calls jealousy) but I try my best to keep jealousy and resentment at bay.  They are best friends.  They will know one another longer than they will know me and their daddy.  We are talking a lifetime here.  They are lucky to have each other. During fights that sentence almost seemed like a slap in the face to me and my sister.  Yet, it is true.  I tell my girls almost daily that they are "Lucky to have each other" and sometimes, for good measure, I throw in that you really don't get to live together for much of your life, I no longer live with my sister and I miss her, etc.   I sometimes get the response from Sleeping Beauty, "That's right.  Now, come here" while gesturing for her big sister to come and give her a hug.  :)

"Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship."  ~Margaret Mead

This is an older picture but I always liked it.
I have loved having a sister, even when she didn't love having me.  :)  Even when we didn't like each other, we always loved each other.  And if you don't know what I mean by that then you probably don't have a sister.  ;)  

"If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child."  ~Linda Sunshine

Recently having a sister got even better.  Amy had probably figured this "perk" out about six years before me when she became on aunt. ;)  

Days old Baby Cinderella
And again about three and a half years ago...
Brand new Baby Sleeping Beauty
Three months ago she brought a little piece of herself into our world with her baby boy.  I loved him the second I knew he was on his way, even before I knew if he was a boy or girl.  I can't imagine living without him in my world and I can't remember how we ever did.  It seems he has always been a part of us just like my two girls and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Me and a week old prince
The bond of a sister is nearly unbreakable.  I can't imagine a time in my life without her there beside me and she obviously, being the younger sister, cannot imagine a time in her life without me.  I know I will always have her and she knows she will always have me.  And I hope the same is true for my two princesses.   

I have a feeling it will be.
"Bless you, my darling, and remember you are always in the heart - oh tucked so close there is no chance of escape - of your sister."  ~Katherine Mansfield



  1. Wow, let's see ~
    1) love the photo of your mom and you; that's where the thick blonde hair was given!
    2) chuckled over the 'you're lucky to have each other' statement, but keep telling them!
    3) Amy looks like a female Cole with blonde hair!
    4) you not only talk the family talk, you walk it.
    And I just bet if you shared the postpartum time in your life, you would be helping others, or else reminding them, just how traumatic that can be :( we always need to be mindful of others, whether they handle situations as we did or not.
    This is different for your normal posts. I liked it!

  2. Love the sisters quotes! I have 3 sisters myself and we are as close as close can be! Precious pictures, too!!!

  3. Stopping by from SITs to congratulate you on your feature day! I love this post. I have 2 sisters, and our relationships are so special in different ways. I love all of the sisterly quotes here. Honestly, this post made me a little sad. I am living in a foreign country, and missing my sisters (and niece) a lot lately! Anyway, I hope you get lots of comment love on your feature day...enjoy!

  4. This brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for writing this.

  5. Loved all the pictures. You made me wish I had a sister. I'm sure your girls will have that special bond you had with your sister. You and your sister almost looked like twins in that picture.

  6. I have 2 sisters and I love them so much! There is something so special about that sisterly bond. Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. I have two girls that are 1.5 years apart. My hope is that all the hard work of having them so close together pays off dividends in creating a tight bond between them like you and your sister have.

  8. Happy Sits Day. What a wonderful little family you have. I never got a sister.. Your girls are lucky! I too have been struggling with infertility. I love hearing the happy endings! Great Blog!

  9. I love this post! I have a son and a daughter who are very close. But it's always saddened me that my daughter doesn't have a sister. There is just something special about the relationship between sisters.

  10. I love the quote from Charlotte Gray. As competitive and hormonal as the relationship between sisters can get, it's always, always more pros than cons. There's no better friend than the girl who was rocked by the very same hands!

  11. Great post. One of the things I have most enjoyed about being a mother is seeing the relationship develop between my son and his little sister. Not the same as between two sisters, but just as sweet and special, I think! A little late commenting for your SITS day... hope it was a wonderful day for you!

  12. 3rd Jan 2012
    Thanks for this, I'm the eldest of 3 sisters now in our 40's and we sadly lost the middle one to cancer on NY Eve. I am looking for inspiration for something to say at her funeral and came across your blog - what a great thing to do for your girls and for your sister too. There's nothing quite like the love of sisters God Bless

  13. Anonymous,
    I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for your kind words.


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