Today I was inspired to write a post mainly about my siblings as my little sister is travelling to Australia for (at least) six months.
When asked for a fact about myself sometimes I say “I am an only child, a younger sister and an older sister.” (sometimes I also say that I’m a huge Robbie Williams fan or I suck my thumb but this one is always most cryptic!) and this is completely true. Technically I am an only child as my mum only ever gave birth to me. However, when she remarried my step dad had two children from a previous marriage, who became my older step brother and sister, and my Dad remarried and had a daughter with his new wife, my younger half sister. That sentence is probably the only time you will ever see me refer to them as ‘step’ or ‘half’ as, to me, they are my brother and sisters. I grew up with my older siblings from the age of 5 so they have always been there from as long as I can remember and my younger sister was born when I was eight, so again I was fairly young.
Now I’m not going to lie, we have not had a close, perfect bond for the past 25+ years, in fact I hated being a little sister to my big sister. When I was a teenager, I thought she was bossy and was always trying to ‘be my mum’. I look back at my teenage view of my lovely, hard-working, caring big ‘duster’ (a private joke when predictive text went wrong) and wonder how I could ever think that but it was just my immaturity more than anything. I had the opposite relationship with my young sister. As I grew up and became a sulky, miserable, always grunting teenager I thought that she was the most annoying child ever to grace the planet. What I didn’t realise at the time was that, actually, she looked up to me and tried to be like me. Of course I found that annoying at the time but now, if she still looks up to me, I’d feel proud that she does and hope that, despite my moody teenage years, I have been a good role model for her. As for my brother, he moved to New Zealand to get away from me! Joke (I think!), however my relationship with my younger sister was mirrored with my big brother but the other way round. I wanted to be kicking a football around with him outside, playing tennis with him against the wall under the car port, climbing trees in the Cotswolds (whilst shouting in a bad American accent “Brother, come here.”) but unfortunately I wasn’t very good at any of these activities where as he was and you could see him physically deflate if my Mum asked him to play with me outside. As a youngster, I ignored his reaction as I was getting my own way – ha ha!
My big sister and brother have made me an auntie four times over – one handsome boy and three gorgeous girlies. I am a very proud Auntie and love them all very much. Now I am a calm person usually, nothing much really angers me (apart from rudeness & liars) but if you tell me (and it has been said) that my nieces and nephews (or brother and sisters for that matter) are not blood related therefore “not real” then I will immediately be annoyed and will stand up for my family. I truly live my life by the quote at the top of the post. To me, it doesn’t matter that we don’t share the same blood. We are there for each other, we love each other and we support each other so it doesn’t matter whether we share the same blood. Funnily enough, there have been many times when my older sister and I have been told we look like, we don’t (I wish!) but because I have grown up with her influence, I have adopted some of her weird mannerisms – like sniffing stuff (mainly her hands) and the way we itch our nose is the same – palm of hand on nose and wiggle in a circle. I like things like that because it brings us closer together and I feel like it makes us more related.
My big brother moved to New Zealand with his now wife a few years ago. Before they moved there, they were away doing winter and summer seasons abroad so it’s always been the norm that he’s not around as much as my sisters. I hold my hands up and say I am rubbish at Skype and always forget to turn it on. When we do have a chat over the World Wide Web I love it, my nephew is getting more chatting and enjoys showing us his various toys, mainly transformers or superheroes, and my niece (who is only three weeks older than Mini R) is a clever little girl who is already walking confidently and keeping up with the boys in my sister in laws childminding group. My main memories of my brother growing up centre around the stuff I mentioned earlier as well as wrestling and The Simpsons. Many Sunday afternoons where spent watching The Undertaker or Homer on our TV and occasionally we’d all go watch him play football in the local team. We also stuck together when our sister had a birthday party at the house and it all went a bit wrong! I do wish they were nearer so I could be more involved in my niece and nephews lives but I know they have an amazing life in NZ and hopefully I’ll be going to visit in the next year! (Note: My brother and nephew met up with us in Sydney this year when we went to Australia for three weeks.)
As I have mentioned previously, my Dad (the Dad my younger sister and I share) died when we were young. I was seventeen and she was just nine years old. We both have our Dads strong genes so many people say we look very similar. Sometimes I think we do, sometimes I think we don’t. She is far prettier and slimmer than me! Above all else, I think we have similar mannerisms and a similar sense of humour. Out of everyone I know, she is the one that makes me laugh the most. My younger sister is gorgeous, humble, mature, intelligent, hilarious and loyal. She has been through a lot in the last eight months and all the while, remained calm and collected. (Since I wrote this post she’s now been to Australia and is back working as a paralegal in Leeds!) I am immensely proud of her and all she’s achieved. Today she begins a new path in her journey of life, sometimes she has wanted to do for many years but other things held her back. Now she is free, to experience life, to grow as a person and to have a bloody good time. She couldn’t have picked a more perfect time to go however, I will miss her terribly. We don’t see each other every week but we do text/speak every week and she’s always there if I need her. My main worry is that she won’t come back! (She did! Yey!)
I think myself incredibly lucky to have the family I do, specially my siblings. I could have been an only child and I’m so glad I’m not. I think because I could have not had them I am more grateful for them and, in some ways, I got the bast of both worlds because I didn’t have to live with them all the time! To my siblings, thanks for putting up with me and I love you lots….and your crazy families.
As for the extended family that comes with step and half families, well I wouldn’t be without them either. It’s incredibly complicated, makes get togethers a mission and I dread the day mini me comes home from school and tells me he has to draw his family tree…maybe he can have the day off that day. 🙂
Note: This post was updated on 11/09/2016 with a few extra words and some pictures.)