January, 2010 starts us off with more sibling rivalry

For those who haven’t been following my recent activities, I just moved to a location multiple thousands of miles away from where my sister lives. Unfortunately, this move has coincided with a few flare-up in sibling rivalry, some expected and some unexpected. The expected part was the difficulty in communicating with friends and family what I might need, given their (entirely legitimate) interests in my sister’s well-being. Really – I get that I’m older, healthier, and am living a life more independent than she ever will. Doesn’t change the fact that I can be bitterly jealous that her needs for assistance almost always have to come before mine. It’s a medical reality; a confidence crisis or need for financial advice just doesn’t stack up against a seizure or needing to help an obstinate blind woman find the restroom. (Lily was being really weird about the bathroom when I was home; she wouldn’t tell anyone she needed to go, and denied it when asked. We had to figure out by her other behaviors that she wasn’t being honest and get her there quickly enough to avoid her soiling herself.) It’s still frustrating, though, to be in the middle of troubleshooting a computer issue or relating the day’s news and to be interrupted, knowing it will be difficult and/or impossible to recover the conversation. So be it.

One unexpected development is that both of us actually seem aware of the fight for Mom and Dad’s attention. I called to check in the other night after the family had finished dinner. Mom told me that, after it became clear that I was going to be engaging my parents in conversation that didn’t really include her, Lily had stood up (yes, the crawler stood up) and announced that she wanted to go back to her apartment. To be perfectly honest, I’m not convinced that I was the only motivating factor here – Lily’s got a whole list of other methods for getting attention, and she hasn’t been staying long after dinner recently in general – but if I was, it’s pretty interesting.

NB: it may sound like Lily and I hate each other’s guts, from some of the things I write here. Not at all true. Granted, we’re experiencing a whole lot of friction these days, but we’re still sisters who love each other. And even if we fight for attention from our parents, we also team up to sneak into the cookie jar, tease our parents, watch our favorite TV shows, and do other fun things together.


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