Isn't it strange how two siblings that grow up in the same house, with the same parents, eating the same things and breathing the same air can be sooo different from each other? Can you relate?
My sister, Martha, and I are pretty different species, but things work now that we are older (and declawed). Granted, we now have things in common, but for the most part, we grew up under the same roof on different planets. She is seven years older than I am, so that accounts for part of it. I mean she got married when I was in the eighth grade. That was the exact same year I distinctly remember saying that I would never, ever take my clothes off in front of a boy. See what I mean - different galaxies! The rest of it is just flat out a mystery. And what's even more of a mystery is that my mother has made it to the age of 80 and still has all her faculties about her. Between you and me though, I think she was one switch (the old-fashion kind that you go out in the yard to get) away from becoming full-out crazy when my sister and I miraculously started being civil to each other.
Recently, I was telling someone about our family picnics out on my parent's boat on Lake Murray. We started doing these when Dad was still alive. I just had to laugh when I pointed out that I usually show up with a bottle of wine, while my sister packs enough food to feed all of us and the S.C. Waterski Team. In fact, we start flagging other boaters over to see if they need some fried chicken or egg salad sandwiches.
I'm a great cook and don't mind doing my part. My sister just enjoys preparing most of the food and she's very good at it, too. So, I let that be her gig. and I am perfectly okay with that, now. It hasn't always been that way, though. I used to feel the need to prove myself. I'm over that. After all, I am seven years younger and the "baby" of the family. The sibling rivalry between us was fierce and bred contempt. It made our differences all the more noticeable. Note: If you're a psychologist reading this, please refrain from calling me to ask if I want to book an appointment. Trust me. us chillin's are all right!
In fact, things are really good. The point is, she has her way, and I have mine, and they are way far apart, but it all works. I actually enjoy being around her now. She is my shopping buddy the day after Thanksgiving and she has a great sense of humor, albeit a little corny.
I have to credit my mom and dad for laying a good foundation. As a family, we sat down for dinner most nights together. We took vacations together, and spent most holidays together, even to this day. I have never missed a Christmas with my family, including my sister. So through it all, my parents were like the "Little Engine That Could." They just kept plugging along, expecting us to like each other, whether we liked it or not, knowing that one day it would be smooth sailing. Our parents did not give us the option of not showing up or copping out, and because of that, we made it.
I have two children, a boy and a girl. Yes, they are obviously different, but we're all on the same planet. I have no clue how my mother dealt with having two daughters, so very opposite of each other, who constantly wanted to be better than the other one. As an employer, I expect different personalities, but as a mom, with no training manual, how do you handle it all? One would figure that children from the same mom an dad would be a little alike. I think this just proves how much faith God puts in mothers to take care of the little ones - no matter what. And, isn't it so cool that as mothers, we have the capability of loving both "species" equally? Although you'll probably never convince your children of that.
I told my children a long time ago that there is nothing they can say or do that will make me love the other one less, so they might as well just be nice. I wanted my children to get along from the start, and that was my way of diffusing the rivalry. Oh, I've had to remind them from time-to-time, but I think they get it, and I hope they will tell their children the same thing!
Happy Mother's Day and Happy May!