Today is my big sister's birthday (Happy Birthday, Carin!), but we live in different time zones, and it's sometimes nearly impossible to get in touch with each other. Today was, apparently, one of those days. I had to be content with leaving birthday messages on her facebook page and voicemail and hoping that she knows how much I love her.
It's kind of ironic... Carin and I were the bitterest of enemies when we were kids. We took sibling rivalry to monumental extremes, and I don't think either one of us believed our parents when they told us we'd be best friends one day. In fact, the only time we ever really cooperated with each other for any extended period of time was when we were "pulling one over" on dear old mom and dad.
Our parents used to punish us for fighting by sitting us side-by-side on the couch with strict instructions that we weren't allowed to speak to one another. Then, they would leave the room. Of course, we would immediately show dear old mom and dad that they couldn't make us do anything we didn't want to do. We didn't have to do what they told us to do!!! So, just to spite our mean, horrible old parents, we would start talking to each other. Just in whispers, mind you. We knew we'd be in bigger trouble if Mom and Dad ever found out we were "openly" defying them like this.
But the point is, we WERE defying them - even if they didn't know it. Before long, we were laughing and giggling about how sneaky we were, and how clueless our parents were. Because THEY NEVER FIGURED IT OUT! Every single time we got in trouble for fighting, the punishment was the same. Every single time, they put us together on the couch and made us sit silently together. And Every Single Time they left the room and forgot to pay attention to whether or not we were following the punishment they were trying to give us.
It was really easy to fool Mom and Dad, because they always got busy doing other things in another part of the house, so they were always gone for a really long time (at least 10 minutes!), and they always announced "I'm coming back in there, and you'd better be sitting quietly like I told you to!" before coming back to check on us. So we could easily stop talking and pretend we had been quiet the whole time. We even managed to disguise our giggles and laughter with scowls and frowns, so that our clueless parents never knew we'd tricked them!
These days, Carin and I don't worry about that old, silly sibling rivalry. These days, she's one of my best friends. We learned to love each other in spite of our clueless parents' attempts to teach us "valuable lessons." And now, I look forward to spending time with my big sister, because I know we don't need to compete for anything.
Besides, I know I'm really Mom and Dad's favorite child (it's obvious - whenever they want to see me, they spend hundreds of dollars on plane tickets to fly out to see me, and they stay at my house for weeks at a time... they never even spend the night at Carin's house!), but I almost never point out how much they love me more. I even let my big sister believe that she's the favorite, just because they come over to her house for Sunday dinner almost every week...