i am the middle sister. when i turned four i was beginning to develop a personality of my own. just as i found out i was ok the way i was and didn’t have to imitate my older sister, i lost the spotlight to my younger sister.
growing up, i was never told to clean my room. homework? forget it. i’d get it done as soon as i was back from school and then make up “my own homework” because however much was assigned by the teachers didn’t seem enough to me.
i’d get out of bed every morning before 6am, on my own. i’d follow the smell of coffee and end up in the kitchen, where my father already had the morning gig going: just-brewed coffee, straight-out-of-the-oven french bread (from the downstairs bakery), butter and cheese. these are treasured memories, especially since i left home at 16.
could i be, to this day, still trying to measure up to my sisters? my older sister got married. then she had a daughter. a few years later my younger sister got married. then i got married! soon my younger sister had a son… i chose to remain childless.
we’re very close to each other (despite being in ca, ny and fl) and we talk about everything. my parents included. the other day i had a priceless phone conversation with my dad in which we solemnly discussed additional material for “the aristocrats” joke. it involved german toilets and tapeworms.
my older sister reigns alone, though. she seems to be the epitome of it all. the messiest house. the funniest excuses. the longest complaints. the weirdest cat. the clumsiest stories. plain drama, all around. the most routine task, shopping for instance, when undertaken by her, turns into one-third of the florida population (all at least twice her age) trying to help her gather ripped plastic bags, scattered groceries and her fallen, bent-out-of-shape bicycle on a street crossing, just as the light turns green. she wipes her slightly bloody knees, as she gets up and tries to make some sense of what just happened. there are cans of corn and spilled milk on the road. don’t ask.
so as i posted earlier today, the mustard container exploded in my hands when preparing breakfast this morning. i took pictures and called my sister. after all, i’d just done something so *HER*, that i had to share. she picks up the phone with a sigh. one of those long, you-are-going-to-pity-me sighs. ‘what’s the matter?’ i try to sound concerned. ‘you won’t believe this…’ she says. ‘i spent the entire morning cleaning the bathroom. my husband must have been late for work when he realized, right after his morning constitutional, that the toilet was backed up… so a couple of hours later when i got up…’ [sigh]