SIBLING RIVALRY

Wow, what a tricky area… love, turmoil, joy, companionship, fights, and jealousy.

I realised something today after a lengthy chat with my littlest sister (Hello Spawn of Satan, I am sure you are reading this) – I no longer look at my sisters, The “Spawn” (the youngest) and The “Adopted One” (She’s not adopted – she just looks nothing like anyone else in the family… Hmmm) and feel envious of the way they are treated by the family. I think it’s because for the first time I am starting to feel like an adult. I have a family of my own, an income, a home etc. I feel my life is full. In a good way.

I always thought that being the oldest was the toughest; the first to push the boundaries with the rentals – missing a curfew, smoking, drinking, tattoos and piercings etc. (It didn’t help that the Adopted One had a near perfect track record – not so with the Spawn, though she had brains on her side!). I recall, painfully, the day my parents learned that I had a piercing (or two) – I have never seen my mother go so red, or scream quite so much! A week later, the Adopted One comes home with her belly button pierced, and what does she get? That’s right, a slap on the wrist. By the time the Spawn reached the appropriate(ish) age for piercings, my parents had all but given up. And I guess this set the precedent for things to come… I was always told that if I crashed my car, I would have to pay for it myself – and despite my reckless driving as a youth I avoided any prangs. One would expect the same rules to apply to my siblings, but no… The women in my family have managed to rack up quite a collection of accidents. Two that stick in mind; Madre reversed into a skip that had been in our drive for a month and took the back off the car… her excuse? “I didn’t see it”. The second was when the Adopted One drove into the back of a stationary van and destroyed the front of her car… Why you ask? “I was distracted by a hot guy at the side of the road”. Imagine this in reverse: So I’m driving along checking out some hottie walking down the street and rear end a parked van. If I avoid getting K.O. by the van driver, I can sure as hell expect a bollocking from my Old Man; “Well son, that’s what you get for letting your eyes wander. I hope she was worth it”.

The injustice continued when the Old Man decided to buy the Spawn a new contract iPhone, and continued to pay the immense bills. I was of the Nokia 3210 generation – PAYG phones and you got $10 to last you the month (Couldn’t do that now!). If I ran out, tough titties. Hmm.

It occurred to me after a conversation with my Mother that I had developed a destructive view of it. This came around after she went off on a rant about “How lucky we were that we could travel because she never could because of us blah blah” (I have a tendency of tuning out after a while). What I realised was that I was not only turning into a bitter/resentful middle aged woman, (I’m a 30 year old guy, so really not good) but that I was ignoring one key factor… progression. 30 years ago, flights were expensive. Now they’re not, and I am in the lucky position to be able to take advantage of this. Should I be punished for this? No. Should I be grateful? Yes. Should my Mother be resentful of my good fortune? No – much in the same way that her parents were (probably) not resentful of the fact that she was able to have a car/tv/whatever-the-new-thing-was when they couldn’t at their age. And so the cycle continues… So, Spawn, I’m sorry for being irritated at your good fortune. Technology changes, and you should take full advantage of it. I am however still annoyed that you can get the Old Man to fix your car when you wrap it around a tree.

Now, back to the original point – being the eldest. Yes, it had its downsides, but I suppose I should be proud that I opened up new avenues for my siblings to explore. That is the definition of progression after all, isn’t it? Today, though, I saw it from the Spawn’s perspective, looking from the bottom up. She has a partner, let’s call him The Prince, and he has rather immaturely been un-invited from a family event due to concern that the Adopted One would feel left out as she is currently unattached. The Spawn quite rightly pointed out that she had spent a decade attending family events alone whilst I and my sister brought various dates. Well Spawn, sorry, but welcome to the cycle. You have broken the cardinal rule of hierarchy – ref. 10 Things I Hate About You (yeah, I did just quote that movie). So Spawn, I guess it’s time to take one for the team. Sucks, I know. But take solace in the fact that afterwards you get to go home and curl up with The Prince (that sounds considerably creepier than intended).

So, after this lengthy and protracted prose – I have realised that the cycle of siblinghood is never ending, and the only way out of it is acceptance, achieved through happiness in your own life.

      Goodbye destructive cycle – I won’t miss you

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