Caterpillars, Butterflies, Little Sisters
My sister is having a baby in a couple weeks. She’s my little sister. I remember her sitting in the dirt making bottle cap mud pies. She was the one that crawled around behind the big fat caterpillars as they infested our porch in the spring. She wondered why they all suddenly disappeared soon after. She loved chasing the colorful butterflies that flitted around the tropical flowers that summer.
I know that being the younger sister is difficult for her. She has never liked that I was first, at anything. She would have wanted the privileges attached to being older. She would have probably appreciated them more. She definitely didn’t like the diminutives that came in front of being my sister, as in, little, smaller, younger, baby.
Yet, she will always be the part of me that was missing, that came after. I was there and then she appeared. And I loved her for it, because of it. My mother tells me, “you asked for a sister.” Inside, I know this is true because I can’t imagine a life without her in it. It is always me and her. I can’t help that I came first but I know that I like that it happened that way. I love the memories that come with being the older, bigger sister. I like remembering her as a little girl.
Even now, with her beautiful pregnant belly, I can’t help but see her as she was back then, sitting there in the dirt, mud streaks on her face, working intently on her perfect little mud pies. She will never understand that that’s how I get to see her, it’s a gift for me to see her that way. It’s not that I don’t let her grow up. I am so proud of her, proud to be her big sister. But there is a little piece of her that I get to keep with me forever, that’s all mine. I love that there are stories only I will get to tell her child.