I’m a big sister. The month my little sister arrived, we moved from a walk-up apartment to a ranch house bordering an adventure-filled, empty lot of granite boulders, falling trees and small animals. The street was filled with kids playing ball and riding bikes. I entered kindergarten a short while later. My five-year-old world was filled with so many new experiences that I hardly noticed the new baby.
My two-year-old granddaughter is now a big sister. She is almost too aware of her new, baby brother. He takes up her mother’s time and lap. He rides next to her in the car and the carriage, domains that used to be hers alone. He pooped all over her within his first 24 hours at home. Eventually, he will be sharing her bedroom. Life has changed.
But, big sisterhood also means that she must see him first thing every morning. She helps get his diapers and burp cloths. She runs to the cradle when company arrives. She’s protecting her property because, well, he is hers. He is her baby brother. He makes her the big sister.
My children had their moments of sibling conflict growing up. Sometimes the disagreements even got physical. But, no one else, and I mean no one, was allowed to tease, disparage or hurt one of them without the other rising up in resistance. Being the big sister (or brother) means you set the tone for those defenses. You do everything first and usher the younger one into each new experience.
My sister and I have a fine relationship (in spite of my initial indifference). My kids are wonderful friends. My granddaughter is just learning how to be a sibling. Good for her. It’s invaluable to have a lifelong friend along for the ride.