An Imperfect Oldest Sister

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Nobody is perfect, though I, like many others I’ve come to know, tried to be “perfect” for more years than I care to admit. The thing is, imperfection is a part of being human, and while I might have tried to be without flaw in front of those I thought expected it, my human imperfections often came out “behind-the-scenes” and toward the most vulnerable. In my childhood years, that was my younger siblings.

With the possible exception of one of my sisters, I think any of them would tell you I was a mean big sister. At times, that was true. My mother and father had five children in six years, and as the oldest, I became the “back-up” mom at the age of six. As I got older, if my mother was ill, which she often was, I was often the “primary” mom.

If, during those times, I couldn’t get my three younger sisters and one youngest brother to do what needed to be done, I would scream and yell at them. But why should they listen to a sister who was only slightly older? I liken the situation to students misbehaving with a substitute teacher. I was not their mom. Why should they obey me?

If screaming and yelling didn’t work, I’d pull hair. If that didn’t work, I’d hit, maybe even kick. And if that didn’t work, well, I’m ashamed to admit I tried tactics that were even worse.

When I look back, I feel much regret for the way I treated them, and I’ve apologized to all of my siblings. I can’t do anything about the past, but as an adult, I’ve tried to be a good oldest sister. Still, I’m human and have my flaws.

A few of us may still have some scars. But, when times are tough, we are there for each other. I have no doubt we all love each other. I’m grateful to have such compassionate, loving, supportive siblings, especially during difficult times, like the death of my mom last year.

Happy Siblings Day to all of my siblings–Cyndie, Kim, Tami and Chuck. I love you all very much and count my blessings for you every day.

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2 Responses to An Imperfect Oldest Sister

  1. Joyce says:

    Thank you, Jan for being honest in sharing your thoughts and confessions, here. :). I had plenty of them too, and regret many, as I think all of us do at least have some we don’t want to share, have the courage to, or maybe out of shame or embarrassment just won’t. But, I’ve always thought if we cannot be honest with ourselves, and with others, to admit our past mistakes others cannot learn from them, and one cannot hide their heads in the sand. I have two older sisters (and one brother younger than I), and I always felt I had to measure up to my one older sister, and made me feel as if I had to compete with her. So, I never felt as if she really cared about me, as she was always closer to my oldest sister. It wreaked havoc on my own self esteem until I began to realize my own worth and do things that was important to me, like my writing, and creative arts. It became my outlet and my voice and now all my siblings read, comment and like what I do and write, and we’ve all become so much closer due to staying in constant touch and communication via our emails and being honest with our feelings and sharing more. I feel that If you stay true to yourself you can heal, and help someone else who can learn from it.

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Joyce. It helped me to hear what you felt about your older sisters. That’s one reason I shared this “confession,” in hopes that other siblings might share a bit of their histories, so that we all might understand what the other siblings in our families may have felt about their “positions” in the family. I’m glad you and your siblings, too, are close and have been able to move on!

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