I have been a big sister since I was 18 months old and so, really, it’s fair to say that I can’t remember not being in the role.
I think that the thing that occurs to me most when I think about my family is how well we all fit into our roles: I am very organised (I’m sure my family would change that to bossy), the next one down, Amy, is creative, as is Jack. The middle two have also had their ‘rebellious’ moments over the years… Then Daisy, the baby of the family, is well, the baby! (Even though she’s 17. Er, how did that happen?) But the question is whether we would be the way we are if we born in a different order? Obviously that’s a completely rhetorical question, but I just couldn’t think of us any other way.
The funniest thing about me and my siblings is how different we all look. True story: I was passing wedding pictures around at work shortly after the wedding when someone said ‘wow, you better be careful – your husband is already getting cosy with your bridesmaid in this one!’ Firstly, what?! And secondly, that’s my brother with his arm around my sister. So thanks for that image. Oh and my husband would be in the one in every single other picture.
But once you get to know us, you can see how alike we actually are, especially us three sisters. We all worry in the same way (i.e. totally over-the-top emotional major life crises whenever anything happens), we all get really grouchy if we haven’t eaten (it’s a blood sugar thing), we love to cook in the same way (throwing everything into a pan and crossing our fingers) and we love reading. Some of these characteristics we get from Mum and some from Dad, but I still find it fascinating to discover how often we react to certain situations in exactly the same way. Nature or nurture?
When we were all younger, I definitely ‘big sistered’ them all, but over the last few years we’ve grown closer. Possibly coinciding with me chilling out a bit? When my sister Amy had my niece, Maya, it bridged a gap that had needed closing for a long time and a completely new relationship was formed. Trust me, we did not always get along as well as we do now… (Hello understatement of the century.) And my youngest sister, Daisy, being at college close-by has been wonderful and meant that we can actually build a friendship. Jack and I still have a way to go, but we’ve had a great time together each time we’ve seen each other recently.
The reason that I’ve included wedding pictures in this post rather than childhood ones is partly because we all looked great on the day (especially Daisy. I mean, seriously, would you look at the girl?), but also because I felt so proud of them in the lead up-to and during my wedding. Amy was an absolute star, doing all the bouquets and a million other crafty things including making butterfly clips for me and the bridesmaids. Daisy definitely won the ‘bridesmaid of the year’ award for making sure that I always had a drink/lipbalm/didn’t need my flat shoes/anything at all; and Jack stepped in at the last minute to help with the music. Fantastic. I know my parents were really proud of them all, too. I can confidently say that the day would not have been as wonderful as it was if they hadn’t had done what they did.
My Dad especially has always wanted his large brood to get on well and feel close to each other. It’s hard, isn’t it, with siblings, because you don’t get to choose them and, therefore, it can be really hard to form true friendships. Well, I can honestly say that I am proud to call my siblings friends and I love spending time with them. OK, not all the time, but most of it. Even if I have to buy the drinks and cook the food and tidy up afterwards… Just call me big sis.