Dear Little Sister,
When we were growing up, as someone who had 22 more months of life experience, I felt it my duty – no – my God-given responsibility to mother you. When you were 3 year olds, donning a summer dress, you walked to a neighbour’s house without your underpants on. I chased after you and brought you back home. When you were 6, we would hide under my bed and I would cover your ears to protect you from the noise when arguments became too much. When you were 10 and would recount the dramas of 4th grade to me, with wide eyes, I’d remind you not to speak to people so bluntly. When you were 14 and you dated a boy that was older than me, I voiced concern about what other people might think. When you cried from worry after that argument between me and Dad, I ran to your room and comforted you.
I was there. Correcting, comforting, guiding, chastising. Inappropriately and out of love. I was there.
And now you are in the biggest battle of your life. Each day is filled with fear. Each day is filled with sadness. Each day is filled with worry. Each day is filled with tears.
But I am here. In this place. I cannot run to you. I cannot wipe away your tears. I cannot comfort you or take small steps to lift the burden.
The distance and this experience, has shown me that you don’t need mothering. You don’t need someone who is quick to give answers or to protect you. You don’t need someone who fixes things with a pocket-ready cliche. I am learning that too often in life people try to sweep away pain by ignoring it or trying to distract you from it because witnessing it is hard to bear. The truth is, no one can be protected from this type of pain because it is the unique and deep-rooted pain that can only spring from the heart of a mother.
No, you don’t need me to be your mother.
You need a sister. You need someone who will remind you that none of this is your fault. You need someone to tell you that you are doing enough. You need someone to say that your determination and grit has saved your babies multiple times. You need someone to tell you that even when nothing is okay, I am here with you knowing that nothing is okay. I am here to cry with you. I am here to celebrate those babies. I am here to listen.
I am here.
With all of my love,
Your Big Sister