Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Aug 24, 201808:05 AM
Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

Sister Struggles

The pain and joy – and OMG, the bickering – of sisterhood

If, in the course of “get to know you” questions, I tell you I’m an only child – which is what I usually say – and you subsequently go on to get to know me better, you will probably be thrown for a loop when I refer to my late brother and sister in casual conversation.

The thing is that “both my siblings are dead” is kind of small talk poison, a cocktail party conversation killer. So I don’t typically bring it up.

The other thing is that I am in many ways legitimately an only child – I am my mother’s only child, and my siblings were 20+ years older. We were never raised together, and although I loved both my brother and my sister and miss them, they weren’t my peers or my friends in any significant way.

I don’t want to say my childhood was lonely without siblings because it wasn’t particularly. I had friends in my neighborhood, and we did the typical childhood things: biking back and forth between houses, playing video games, climbing fences, watching TV, spraying each other with cheap sampler perfume at K&B, roller-skating through the mausoleum where the floors were smoother than the broken sidewalks. I was also very close to my mom – she and I watched movies and went to plays and scoured yard sales for weird stuff and took random road trips to nowhere and cooked and read books to each other.

Sure, Christmas Day could be kind of depressing when it would just be me and my mom and I’d get a new game that required four players, but overall, I didn’t hate being an only child.

I still don’t. I do sometimes long for a big, sprawling family, for nieces and nephews, for family reunions with matching T-shirts and enthusiastic games of Frisbee – but as much as I hate the phrase “it is what it is,” some things just are what they are, and this is one of them.

Siblings remain a mystery to me, though, and I have trouble understanding how my daughters can be screaming at each other one minute and snuggling up together the literal next minute.

“I gave you a playmate!” I yell at them sometimes. “I made an entire other human for you to love! You’re lucky to have each other! GET ALONG!”

It doesn’t work. Georgia worships Ruby but also resents her for being older. Ruby is protective of Georgia from everyone else in the world – but treats her like crap herself half the time. They don’t fight physically, but the bickering is so intense I almost wonder if boys would be better: just clobber each other and move on. But then I’ll come upon them cuddling and whispering and giggling, and I feel like maybe they’ll be OK.

“It’s just sibling rivalry,” I overheard Ruby whispering tearfully to Georgia Sunday night after a particularly long day of feuding. “I never mean to be mean to you; I love you so much. It’s just that I’m the big sister, so it’s my job to make you do stuff for me.”

And Georgia handed her a tissue, waited while she blew her nose, and then threw it away for her.

Then they hugged and then Ruby read her a story and made them both hot chocolate.

My life wasn’t lonely as an only child. But I think – I hope; I pray – theirs will be so much richer.

 

 

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Joie d'Eve

Living, loving, laughing, and learning in the new New Orleans

about

        Eve is further proof, if any is needed, that New Orleans girls can never escape the city. After living here since the age of 3 and graduating from Ben Franklin High School, Eve moved to Columbia, Mo., where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Missouri School of Journalism and became truly, unhealthily obsessed with grammar.She had originally intended to strike out to New York City and work in the cutthroat magazine industry there, but after Katrina, Eve felt a strong pull to return home, to her roots, her family, her waterlogged and struggling city – and a much more forgiving work atmosphere that would allow her to skip a routine of everyday makeup and size 0 designer label business suits and enjoy the occasional cocktail or three with an absurdly fattening lunch. She moved back home in January 2008 and lives in Mid-City with her two daughters, Ruby and Georgia; her stepson, Elliot; and her husband, Robert Peyton.Eve blogs about the joys and struggles of living in post-Katrina New Orleans, the unique problems and delights of raising a child in such a diverse and challenging city – including her experiences with the public education system – and her always entertaining and extremely colorful family.Eve has won numerous writing awards, including the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society Gold Medal, the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for column-writing and Press Club of New Orleans awards for her Editor’s Note in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and for this blog, most recently winning the award for "Best Feature Affiliated Blog."She welcomes comments, advice, empty flattery, recipes, drink invitations and – most especially – grammatical or linguistic debates.

recent

archive

feed

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Joie d'Eve Feed »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags