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A Letter To My Daughter On The Difficulty Of Being The Elder Sister

Posted: August 3, 2015

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A mother writes a heartfelt letter to her daughter on the difficulty of being the elder sister. She also shares the guilt of putting her daughter in the place, she is into. Do read.

My dear Pumpkin,

It may seem as though I favour your younger sister over you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When you snatch a beloved book from her, followed by her inevitable screams, my knee-jerk reaction is to demand you return it to her. I impatiently tell you that we don’t take from others without asking permission first. Then, upon seeing your serious and contrite expression, I go on to say that Peanut is younger than you and you have to show that you’re a good big sister.

When Peanut looks up and sees that you now have a toy phone in your hands as a consolation prize, she drops the book like it’s nothing and moves in for the kill. Before you can react, she swipes the phone from your unprepared hands, leaving you in shocked indignation.

“Mama!” you cry out (and righteously so). You look to me for guidance, for protection.

“It’s all right,” I hear myself say before I can stop myself. “She’s just a baby. Let her have it.”

Your face falls, and you walk slowly to your little kitchen to lick your wounds. I’ve taken her side. Again.

I am dismayed by my behaviour but feel as though there is nothing I can do. Peanut is at her ‘terrible two’ phase, where reason and logic go for a toss. There is absolutely no way I can explain to her how much she is hurting you, her big sister, by her behavior.

This scenario is repeated at least four more times that day. Each time, you are the loser.

I try to explain that you are the one who should share, be understanding, and give Peanut what she wants, because she is The Baby and you are The Big Sister.

I try to explain that you are the one who should share, be understanding, and give Peanut what she wants, because she is The Baby and you are The Big Sister. I try to ignore the look of disappointment and injustice etched on your features. You feel betrayed.

I know it can’t be easy for you.

I know, because I’m a big sister too.

It must be so hard for you to understand it all now, but someday, you will. All the arguments, fights, shouting matches—and I almost always side with her.

I can try to explain it to her. But trust me, she won’t get it. And you do, even if you don’t yet understand all the reasons why it has to be this way right now.

You are sweet. You are strong. You are brave. You are the eldest child, an unsung hero.

I thank you for your trust, and for still believing in me.


Your Mama

Indian sisters image via Shutterstock

First published at the author’s blog

Jen has always enjoyed visual communications and writing ever since her school spelling bee days.

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