I may have explained a bit about my fractured family tree in the past. I'm lucky to get this post up; searching through old posts isn't going to happen. And besides, it's a bit like the start of Genesis, only in addition to all the begetting there would be all the wedding and divorcing and wedding anew. I tried reading Genesis three times. It's not fun.
Suffice to say that I am the oldest girl and second oldest of all the versions of siblings in my family. The second girl is my sister, Rachelle. We always called her Shelly or Shell. Turns out she hates that, but it's a hard habit to break. All three names are my little sister.
We are 28 days apart in age. I was the smart one who took advanced classes. She struggled academically. Shell was held back a grade, but still was mostly in special ed classes.
I was the chubby one with frizzy blonde hair, super pale skin and a fiery temperament. She was the sweet, thin, pretty girl who had long silky chestnut hair and hazel eyes.
I did well in gymnastics. She took piano lessons for a while, and did very well.
Probably the biggest difference between us was how we dealt with our insecurities. She retreated. I was bombastic. She was occasionally the tool I used to make myself feel better. It was an easy thing to do, point out her "flaws" or my so-called strengths. My dad (her dad, really) still talks about her as though she were some lovable clumsy dope who can't get things straight, follow directions or relate information.
He got the lovable part right. Every time we speak, I find some reason to be amazed with who she is as a person. To avoid sounding patronizing, I no longer mention this, but it is no less true. I think about the time, every time we talk, that I made her cry on the soccer field in front of her friends.
Thankfully, I've also been able to stand up for her, even as a kid. I helped put an end to something horrible she endured. Can you believe I had to seek help for her twice before my mom pulled her head out of... the sand... and did something? I cannot fathom that.
Her grandparents never really cared for me so I wasn't close to them. When each of them passed away, I was at her side, crying because she and her dad (my dad, as far as I'm concerned) were hurting.
Today Shelly called me and started off with what a great sister I've always been to her - the best! - and how she has always been able to count on me. I pictured her friends looking at me in contempt as I laughed again about some flub she'd made out there on that cold field.
Somehow we got onto another of our conversations about who did what first. We were competitive about almost everything. I got breasts first and had the first boyfriend. I got married first and had the first child between us. Odd, but I don't recall who got divorced first; that was a tight race.
She remarried first and was the first to have a second child.
She had the first daughter.
She's getting the first hysterectomy later this month.
She may get the first chemo, but I sure hope that is found to be unnecessary.