Whether you had a good experience or a bad experience growing up, your family members were major players in your life. I was fortunate to have a wonderful family.
Growing up, I didn't appreciate them at the time, of course. I complained about them when I didn't get my way or "they didn't understand me." But deep down I was proud of them too. And woe to anyone who said anything bad about anyone in my family. I could complain about them, but you as hell better not.
Few of us, though, appreciate what we have when we have it. But looking back and in relation to what I know now, I had a great family.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for the last couple of years, you know that I use birthdays as a springboard to remember.
And I like to share pictures because they help me to remember. It's fun going through the albums looking for appropriate photographs. I always think of my Dad and how much he enjoyed taking our pictures. He always had the latest camera and when I look at these pictures, I see what a good photographer he was, posing us just so. Don't think I didn't hate it at the time, but I am so glad I have these photos now.
But I also share these pictures here, because I hope that they will spark something in you, too, to remember happy times with your family and to remind you that in the end we are all the same, we all want to be a part of something, we are all part of something, we are all one. And that as the cycle of life unwinds, when we come to the end of the tether, we have our memories.
So now I celebrate my sister's birthday which is at the end of this week.
She was my only sister and my older sister - nine years older. So can you imagine, there she was the only girl and actually the only child for five years until my brother came along. But then nine years later, there I was -- another girl, her sister.
Being the oldest has its benefits but also its negatives.
Like I said, she had our parents all to herself for five years and even when my brother was born, she was the only girl. Being the oldest allows you a certain amount of authority and I think the first child remains the favorite.
But in our house, there were some indignities to endure such as having to share her room with a baby (me). For as long as my sister lived at home, she had to share her bedroom with me. Think of a 16 year old having to share a bedroom with a seven year old.
I can remember nights when she came home from a date and I was sleeping peacefully and she would switch on the light to get ready for bed and I would howl with indignity. So on the one hand, she could have been a bit more considerate of the little sleeping angel (me), but I also didn't need to make such a fuss (the devil in me). A bit of passive aggression in there, wouldn't you say?
She also had to babysit, put up with me hanging around when she brought boyfriends home and listen to me whine about stuff, as little ones often do.
I was a bit of a scamp!
But the best thing about being the oldest, I think, is the prestige and the awe that is felt by the younger ones, especially when the oldest is nine years older. I see my little four year old grandson being followed around by his two year old brother, the two year old wanting to do everything that the four year old is doing. I was in awe of my sister and very proud of her.
She was popular in school. Was invited into the exclusive sorority-like club at the high school,
played in the orchestra (she played the violin and the viola)
and since you can't play the string instruments in the band, she was the flag bearer in the marching band.
She was also an athlete and excelled in tennis.
My Dad started playing with her, but soon she was better than he was and went on to play in tournaments. There is a story in the family that she went to the local public tennis courts, she was told she couldn't practice because there was a tournament going on. She went right home that day and told our Dad that she would go back and win that tournament. And she did. She went on to a college that specialized in tennis. She went to the Nationals and today is a tennis professional and is in the college's hall of fame.
My sister went off to college when I was only 8 and basically I rarely saw her again. Well, you know, she never lived at home again. When she did come home, I remember her regaling me about college and telling me that if you just did what you were supposed to do, you got a C. If you wanted a B or an A, you had to do way more than expected. Scared me to death.
Because my sister was into sports, I realized I wasn't (and psychologically I probably didn't want to have to compete with her in that area), so I veered off into acting. But I ended up going to the same college and let's just say that when I took tennis it was embarrassing as hell to be reminded by the coach, who remembered my sister, that I couldn't hit the ball to save my life.
My sister got married right out of college and I was in the wedding party. I was 12 and demanded a tiara, which I got (I was the baby after all, which also has its perks!).
I remember crying after the wedding when her husband and she left, moving far away.
I finally left home too.
Long story short, I ended up on one coast, she on another.
As the years went by, she had children and grandchildren,
as did I.
and as the vagaries of life took hold, she lived on her own.
But she visited me,
took care of our mother,
taught tennis as a Master Professional and became a Miata enthusiast.
We traveled together (we shared one of my favorite vacations of all time on a narrow boat in England),
and she battled and survived cancer.
Life has a way of coming between relationships. They take a backseat to life's demands.
But despite the years, despite the age difference, despite the miles, one thing I know for sure. My sister is just a phone call away and she will be there for me, because she is my older sister.
I have known her longer than anyone alive.
"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost." - Unknown
Take a Little Time to Remember.
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
when I will be reviewing
the new movie "Chappie"
as well as some
DVD's to see or avoid
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
I Die Project."
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