Life is filled with things that happen to us. Events that often change our lives. Events from which there is no going back.

One such event for me occurred years ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming on May 29th.

It’s the day my younger sister Jane was born.

The day I became a big sister.

The day I became part of the twosome known in our family as “the girls.”

We have a sister Judy, who is seven years older than me, and ten years older than Jane. She was the firstborn and fit that role perfectly. She was serious, responsible, goal-oriented. She was the counterpoint to her younger sisters.

We were like a fifties singing group: Judy and the Girls.

When Jane was born I finally had someone for me. I no longer felt like an only child in the family (because seven years is a big gap between siblings.) Now I had a sister to hang out with, go exploring with, a partner to play dolls and school and make believe. We even dressed alike on certain occasions – twins separated by three years!

Our grandmother dubbed Jane, “Little Me Too,” because she wanted everything I had. We were pretty much inseparable for most of our childhood.

 

In many ways, being part of Judy and the Girls has shaped who I am today and I suspect the same is true for Jane.

I wouldn’t change having these two women as my sisters for anything in the world. As the middle child, I became a kind of bridge between older and younger. No real surprise that I’ve spent a good portion of my adult career as a family therapist! I was born into the role.

Back then I felt a strong need to take care of my little sister.

I still have remnants of that lurking about today. To me it’s just what big sisters do.

Sometimes Jane teasingly tells stories about me trying to kill her when she was little. It always hurts because it is so far from the truth. Yes I fed her corn on the cob when she was too little to eat it, and yes I taught her how to break glass on rocks and she cut her hand.

Guilty as charged.

But I did those things because I loved her.

I wanted to share my food. I wanted to teach her about the ways of the world.

Does learning to break bottles count as knowing about worldly ways? When I was five years old, it seemed to. It was exciting and dangerous and perhaps, most important, something we were NOT supposed to do. It called me like a magnet, and I pulled my little sister right along with me.

 

These days, our family has become small. Key players are no longer living. It is ever more important to hold tight to those of us who remain. We are family and nothing will ever change that. Together we carry the memories and culture of our people and keep them safe for coming generations, until they are able to learn the stories, know the names, make the recipes and carry us forward.

 

Please join me in celebrating my little sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday Janey Kay!

P.S. If  you have a sister, why not give her a call? I bet she’d love to hear from you.

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