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Big sister as mother is not an uncommon story. A lovely ode to the bond of sisterhood, one of the strongest ones there is.
Editor’s Note: On this Mother’s Day, we asked our contributors to share stories of women who have mothered them, beyond their mothers. This is one of the beautiful stories we received. While we love our moms, this is our way of acknowledging that it takes a village to raise a child, and many of us have been lucky to be mothered by others too.
She would burst into tears when I howled as a little baby, so I am told. But having seen her cry whenever I have fought with her, I trust those stories completely.
This woman who mothered me was all of three years old when I snatched away the position of the youngest child in the family from her. My sister, has been the one who always looked out for me and still does even though we have children of our own now.
She is definitely to be blamed for the outspoken rebel that I have grown into, for I grew up seeing her fight till the very end. It is because of her that I have believed that I can dance and sing, though I feel that my baby sleeps whenever I sing a lullaby to him out of sheer desperation to end the torture.
She is also to be credited for passing on the habit of eating chalk and raw rice; something which I still occasionally do.
As a young child, I hated going to the school so much so that I would cry as soon as we reached the school gate. I would hold on to her skirt and a tug-o-war would ensue between me and the peons who would try hard to pull me off her. I on my part would use all the strength I had in my tiny bones, till they finally did us apart.
She was the sense of home for me, a sense of family amidst strangers and I would do anything to remain with her for as long as possible. Sometimes I would sneak into her class and sit with her, winning over her teachers with an innocent smile and so they would let me be. But then there were some who would hear none of it and send me right back where I belonged. Needless to say my sister faced the brunt all along. But never did she sent me away.
Once we went on a school picnic and I came back home with a friend without telling her. She came hours later, exhausted and crying, as she had been searching for me all over the place and thought that somebody had kidnapped me. While I had been happily eating oranges on our terrace ignorant of the grave mistake I had committed. I still remember the look in her eyes when she saw me standing on the terrace and happily waving at her. If looks could kill, I would not be alive to tell this story today.
Well, these are stories that I am sure would be passed on to our kids as part of a family heirloom.
It was only after she left school and I was left to fend for myself that I realized how protected I had been. I could pick a fight with anyone, go to school without the required stationery, be let off by teachers, speak to seniors without hesitation because I had her to fall back on.
Growing up days are critical as they build our sense of identity and it becomes even more important to have someone to look up to. Skinny kids with braces on their teeth have their chances of survival in a competitive school environment upped just because they have sisters like mine, who are firmly standing behind them, shooing away anyone who poses a threat.
And now that I am all grown up and independent, it is her that I turn to when I feel lost and seek familiarity when overwhelmed with the unknown.
Aren’t elder sisters second mothers to their siblings? Well, mine certainly was.
Two girls image via Shutterstock
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