Monday, April 20, 2015

Scenes from the Bus Stop and Beyond #sol



That's me on the left.  In the quite tight and short shorts (seriously, Mom, what WERE you thinking?), the only one not looking at the camera.  Instead, I'm beaming at my big sister,in her crisp maroon and gray plaid uniform, second from the right.  She was going off to school with all the "big kids" from the neighborhood, and man, did I want to go, too.  

When you are the younger sister, you are always waiting for your turn, watching your older sister get to do it all before you.  Always a step behind.  When you are the younger sister and your older sister is naturally gifted, can put together a puzzle of the United States in under a minute at age 6, can name all the capitals of all the states, is good at drawing and fits into all the cute clothes you are too big to squish into.....it can be rather hard.  When she wins trophies and contests and full scholarships, you can see your work is cut out for you.  When she qualifies for the gifted program and your scores say you don't, it can feel deflating, devastating.  You can feel like you are less than, not good enough, no matter what loving family members say to reassure you.  

So what is the chubby, curly-haired un-gifted sister to do? Work hard.  Be a hard worker.  And even though your scores say you aren't "gifted", you rack up those hundreds on tests because you try. so. hard.  It isn't effortless but the bar has been set and you try to reach it, even though you never quite get there. That big sister always does it better, always ranks higher.  

In time, you see that while you may not be as "gifted", you still do have gifts and they are uniquely your own.  And you stop chasing the legend and start creating your own path with your own distinct goals and achievements.    

But let's be honest- you are still in awe of her.  Her intelligence, her vocabulary, her memory, her wardrobe, her ability to wear heels, the silky straightness of her hair, her slimness, the way she can prepare delicious foods you can't even pronounce.  Her ability to make friends wherever she goes, her confidence.  30 years might have gone by, but you will always look at her like that, because she is your amazing sister. 

 In fact, you owe her.  If she wasn't so awesome, you might not have gotten that fire inside you that pushed you to work hard and keep striving.  While you never quite caught up, you built your endurance.  When the path curved and you stopped chasing her, and started finding your own way, you were better for having done the chasing.  

To the little curly-haired chubby sister on the left, keep smiling.  It's hard to be in the shadows but you'll find your sunshine soon enough. That sister of yours is forever on your side and will be your best friend for life.