I was an only child for over 5 years. Then they sprung a baby sister on me. I’m not sure why there was such a delay. Either they were so horrified at their first outing as parents that it took them years to recover; or the whole immigrating thing affected their fertility and/or motility. I’m going with the immigration thing.
Anyway, some child psychologists say that introducing a new sibling to a child and thinking he/she is going to be thrilled about it is akin to a husband introducing a new wife to his spouse.
“Guess what, honey? We’re getting a new little wife for you to play with! Yes, we are! She’ll be small and helpless and much cuter than you and will take up almost all of my time for the foreseeable future, though I’ll love you both the same. And you’re going to love her and be great friends. Yes, you will!”
So, that’s pretty much how I felt when they told me I was getting a sister.
She turned out to be everything I was not. She was quiet and calm and incredibly adorable. She slept through the night from day one. I still haven’t.
As she grew up she proved herself to be obedient, polite, helpful and kind with the sweetest disposition ever. I know these things because my parents constantly marveled amongst themselves and to anyone who would listen over the day-and-night differences between their two daughters.
My sister was a straight A student and never gave my parents a moment of trouble. Any time she did do anything naughty it was my fault because I had egged her on.
And yet, with all this love and adoration my sister still felt that she had to compete with me. When she became a teenager she’d go out of her way to try and get in trouble. But she wasn’t very good at it.
Instead of trying to sneak into a bar with a fake ID, she’d tell the bouncers she was underage and made a big scene when they wouldn’t let her in. When she stayed overnight with a girlfriend she’d tell my parents she’d been out all night having sex with a guy instead of vice versa.
For a while, she made a point of looking up guys I’d dated, offer herself to them and then if they took her up on it, she’d come tell me about it. I guess she thought I’d be crazed with anger and jealousy or something. But really, by that time, I could barely remember some guy I’d been out with once or twice years ago.
My sister never married, never had kids. Instead she’s done a lot of travelling, got her PhD and has shacked up with one totally inappropriate man after another in rapid succession. Men who physically abused her; men with substance abuse problems; men much younger than her who didn’t care to work and lived off her and then snuck off one day, taking along most of her valuables. And yes, all of these have happened more than once and are still happening.
We do have things in common aside from our spinsterhood. We live similar lifestyles (except for the inappropriate men). She’s much more militant about her choices and can get rather aggressive about foisting them on others, but we believe in the same sorts of things.
I can’t say I ever liked my sister much, though. And the feeling is mutual. But you know, we’re related, so every once in a while we end up in the same place at the same time and we make polite conversation through gritted teeth.
Occasionally, one or the other of us will make a feeble attempt to get closer, but it always fizzles out before it goes anywhere.
I’m often sad about this because for so many women their sister is better than a best friend. It would have been nice to have a sister like that. I’m pretty sure that feeling is mutual, too.
 After realizing they were capable of creating a perfect child, my parents quickly spawned 3 more – all boys, one of whom managed to usurp my place as the most difficult child ever. Thanks, dude.