I can’t think of a time as a child when I did not think of myself as Jillian’s big sister. In some sense, it was because I have always been rather loud, outgoing, and relatively unfettered, even if, I was wrestling with inner struggles of insecurity, depression, and severe loneliness. My sister was quiet and shy. Where I was bookish and did not have to put much effort into my classes, I remember Jill having anxiety over tests and being loathe to read. However, my sister was an athlete and not at all accident prone like me. Also, she was & is beautiful. Where I never did much dating, Jillian never seemed to have difficulty in that arena.
I was, and if I’m being totally honest, still am, very protective of my little sister. I hated to see her hurt or sad. Over the years there were boys, and some girls, I was tempted to hunt down and disembowel with a blunted rusty knife because they’d made me sweet sister cry.
Don’t get me wrong – Jillian and I fought, sometimes complete with screaming, shoving, and the de rigeur pulling of hair. But if someone else upset my sister, God help them.
My sister can fight her own battles now – probably could then, too. And she’s no longer quiet or shy, but is usually outgoing and funny. But tonight I finally met one of the personal “demons” she has had to battle. This woman will be an unfortunate part of her life for the next 10-14 years at a minimum. Before tonight I had met the ex-wife of my brother-in-law, but I’d never fully “seen” her. She showed her true self tonight, though. She hurt my feelings and then tried to lie about it. While that’s not particularly important, it did open my eyes to what my sister and brother-in-law have had to deal with. And that made me angry.
I wanted to bare my teeth and menace this woman (of course, I’d likely have had to dumb down my speech lest I lost her – not because she’s dumb, because she’s willfully ignorant, obtuse, manipulative, and incredibly selfish). However, I restrained myself. My niece would have been torn and likely overset, and I’d have made life even more tricky for my sister. When I went back to Jill’s house later (they’d locked themselves out) I wanted to slay my little sister’s tormentors once more. I wanted to hug her and protect her from those meanies out there. Luckily, she has a wonderful man and I knew he’d tend to her figurative “wounds,” though I do plan to see her tomorrow.
I may grow older, but it seems with some things, I may never “grow up.” And I’m honestly ok with that.
Long live the big sister, baby.