Thursday, December 9, 2010

the big sister conundrum.

when you are a little kid, and your parents ask you if you want a little brother or sister "to play with", they never explain to you the responsibilities that come with being a big brother or sister.  they don't say, "yes, we're going to give you a younger sibling, but as the oldest child, you're going to have to be the one to set the examples, and make the mistakes and then share what you learned with them, etc., etc.," because no one really thinks about that anyway, when they are having children.  they expect their kids to magically get along, be best friends, and be there for each other from birth to death. 

but the truth of the matter is, that the good big brothers and sisters of this world, do all those things.  they take care of their younger siblings, and stick up for them when anyone would bring them down, without being asked.  i know i want to be there for my sisters every second of every single day, and i feel really guilty for all the times that i wasn't there for them.

even though my parents started telling me that i needed to stop being such an asshole (my words, not theirs) and start being a good example around the time i hit middle school, i think i pretty much took my role as a big sister for granted, until i moved away to college.  then, as i was 2000 miles away, i wasn't as available to my sisters as i wanted to be.  when they started dating, or had problems with certain classes, i wanted to be there.  i missed helping them get dressed for prom, attending softball games or awards ceremonies, all the things that you want to share with your siblings, all the things that they were there for me for.

this desire to be a shoulder, a sounding board, a guiding hand for my sisters has really been one of the driving forces for me to finally decide to move home.  right now there are a lot of trying things going on in their lives, and i feel so helpless, even though i'm a little closer to home now than i was 2 years ago.  but i'm not home yet, and i know that it's taken a toll on my relationship with my sisters.

i guess what really has been getting to me lately is that i know that my family expects me to lead by example, but i'm starting to feel that maybe i haven't done that, not to the best of my ability.  it's not so much the problem that we aren't close, because we are, extremely close and stick up for each other no matter what (but even that i think is starting to have its consequences).  it's more that i feel like my advice is obsolete, when i'm not giving it in person, or there to follow-up. 

i'm just worried about my sisters, because i want them to make good, sound choices, and not think that just because i live a few hundred miles away, i don't care about what they are doing.  i do.  i worry about them all the time, and i want them to live up to their full potential.  i just wish i knew a better way to help them.

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