An Open Letter to My Sister-Daughter

Journal Entry: the mixed feelings of having to raise your sister.

Remember when I used to blast my music and you would open your bedroom door to listen?

Remember when I used to swindle you out of your candy by ‘sharing’ or convincing you that we should trade?

Remember how we used to wait for everyone to leave the theatre so we could run down to the bottom and dance to the music playing with the credits?

Remember when we were really little and didn’t bother to wait?

Remember when I used to think that you were so stupid for looking to me for comfort when I was the one who hurt you?

I do. I remember it all. You were probably too young. That was the problem with us most of the time–you were too young for me to hang out with, to want to be around. I didn’t want to babysit you. I wanted to sneak off with my boyfriend.

Yet now that the situation is reversed, when all I want is some company while I’m with my own baby, and you just want to jump in another boy’s car…it drives me crazy.

Now that I’m a mom, more than ever, I want to shield you from the world. Half because you’re my sister and half because I want to prove that I can so I can do it again when my daughter is your age.

I know that you hate it when I mother you, but someone has to.

I’ve never identified with our mother more than I do now that I am one. I understand what a struggle it is to be a “good mom,” especially when that definition is ever-changing and at times (or depending on who you’re talking to) contradictory. I know how hard it is not to be selfish and how hard it is when you are. I know what it’s like to feel like two people: you and ‘mom’.

Yet I get so angry at her for not doing more, not doing better by you, when I see you floundering. And I want to help you as much as I can, but sometimes I can’t because I have my own daughter.

And I’m so scared: for you, for my daughter (your niece), for me (if I have to watch you go down this road).

These days I am so tired of being frustrated to the point of tears. I can’t come to your rescue every time and I somehow hate myself and you for it. I’m sorry. But I wish you wouldn’t ask so much of me. I wish there was someone else you could ask.

Sometimes I wish I had been your mother, so I could raise you right. Other times, I wish I lived far away so that I didn’t have to stay up until two a.m. while you cry in my arms. Most times, I just wish you were normal and happy.

But that gets us nowhere. For now, just take the bus home please.

I love you, sis.


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