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Monday, November 4, 2013

My Sister Sam and Sibling Rivalry

                               Pinky at four, and Sam one.

My first memory of her was when I was about three and a half. “Come and look at your little sister, Pinky!” Cooed my mother from her bedroom where she was changing baby Sam’s nappy and playing ‘bicycle legs’ with her. I peered at the cherubic baby jealously. My mother never did that to me, I thought resentfully.

From then on most of my childhood memories involve me unjustifiably getting into big trouble, while little Sam was the source of the mischief in the first place.

For example, shopping with an eighteen month old Sam one day I passed her a pretty blue cellophane toilet deodorant cake to play with in the shopping trolley when my mother’s back was turned. Who got the blame when the dribbling baby unwrapped the packet and took a bite out of it? Pinky… that’s who.

When I was about six and she was three years old we always took a bath together. It was my job to look after her but one evening, bored with the tedious task, I drained the tub and spread soap all over the floor of the bathroom.

“Look Sam! We can skate all over the floor!” I squealed in wicked enticement.

Sam, unco-ordinated baby that she was, slipped over splitting her eye open. She was rushed to the doctor by my panicked parents. The gushing blood and gaping wound probably scared them a bit but it was ME who copped the blame after the event. Sam still bears the scar today… not that it mars her beauty at all. The scars I bear from the false accusations still gurgle on the surface of my fragile schema though.

To further denigrate my wrongly besmirched character, about a week later we were left at my Grandma’s place for a couple of hours. “Come into Grandma’s bedroom, Sam.” I coerced my sister. “I can make your eye look all better.” I smothered the bandage with Grandma’s thick, oily blue and green eye shadow. By the time I’d finished with her she resembled a grease-painted peacock in drag.

I was just applying the finishing touches to my masterpiece when our parents arrived to pick us up. 

“What have you done, Pinky?” cried mum hysterically. “Look at her…it’s all gone inside the bandage and into the stitches!”

Another late night trek to the doctors ensued and I was sent to my bed without dinner. “That’s it,” I thought vengefully. “They love her MORE than they love me.”

The day Sam shoved a glass bead deep into her nasal cavity and almost died from inhaling it was also apparently my fault. It was my glass bead, one of many I’d left carelessly on my bedroom floor after being told countless times to clean them up. I was mightily peeved after my mother bought Sam a toy for being so brave when the doctor poked a foot long pair of tweezers up her snout. Where was my toy?

But the worst thing I was blamed for was on Christmas morning when Sam was three. We shared a bedroom together and Pinky had woken at sparrow’s fart in typical six year old exhilaration.

Noting with thrill, the pillow cases stuffed with presents at the foot of each bed, Pinky went about clinically unwrapping all the gifts, setting them up and enjoying a good hour long play with each and every one before the parentals woke up and hit the roof. 

They said I ruined Christmas that year.

Many years have passed since those days and my dear little sister is about to celebrate a very significant birthday. Naturally, our parents are making a special airplane trip up to celebrate such an auspicious occasion. 

Did they make the same effort for Pinky?

Well… they didn’t have to because three weeks before my big event they were still living, gosh, around the corner from me. 

Instead, they deemed it more fitting to pack up, sell their house and move one thousand miles away just prior to my birthday. I told you they love her more than me.

All joking aside though, my sister is my closest and bestest friend and I love her to bits. Happy Birthday Sammy!

                               Sam at 16 and Pinky 19