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  • Writer's pictureastrid v.j.

Being the Big Sister

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

Elisabeth and Edvard: The Siblings' Tale explores human relationships and focuses especially on siblings.

I was five and a half when my sister was born. I remember throwing a tantrum in the stairwell because I wasn't allowed to go to the hospital with my mother and had to stay with my aunt instead. Then at last, the following day, in a sterile hospital that smelled of antiseptic, I was going to meet my sister. While all I wanted was to meet her, everyone insisted I had to wash my hands. The extra delay agitated me. Why couldn't I just meet the baby?

Life was never the same again... I know people usually say that in a negative way about having siblings, but for me it was amazing. Gone were the lonely days spent playing by myself. I finally had someone to be with all the time - and we played awesome games once she was a little bigger. T. is undoubtedly my best friend and my one and only confidante. You are awesome, little sister!

I won't kid you though, we had some rough times. Being the eldest and having to take responsibility for the bs she would come up with - I hated that. So I could be a little controlling at times, and T. does NOT let anyone control her. Oh no. We had some massive fights. But since we're quite volatile in nature, the explosions tended to be short-lived and then we could get on with playing together like nothing had happened. Crazy! I know, we are mad as hatters.

I learned everything from my older brother and sister and taught it to my younger sisters. Joaquin Phoenix

Well, life went on. School happened and in middle school things started getting rough, particularly with my mum. I cannot recommend having two control-freaks in the same car after a long day at work/school. Having the usual teenager issues of feeling out of place, that I didn't have any real friends and that no-one understood me at all, didn't help one bit. Not to mention the acne. Puberty was rough.

And then, my little miracle came along. My sister E. delicate baby that she was taught me the joys of life, just how amazing it is that life happens, that we can breathe without thinking and that every day dawns beautiful in and of itself. Her smile pulled me out of the deep and brought me back to my family.

Then my path diverged. I left school, traveled for a year, studied, met the man, moved countries (twice) and I got to know many, many other siblings too. I observed a myriad of different relationships and have learned to cherish the incredible partnership my sisters and I have forged. We are among the lucky few who love their siblings.

The rivalries, hatred, bullying and scheming sadden me because I know how special it is to have a sibling. I remember the intense loneliness I felt as an only child compared to the companionship I have been blessed with since. So how do people lose their path and become the obstacles in their siblings' ways? In Elisabeth and Edvard: The Siblings' Tale I explore one option and I also take a look at what could happen if one were to try and understand the other. Can siblings grow closer again if they wish to? Do circumstances lead us back together again - as in: blood is thicker than water?

I believe that it is possible. We can overcome. As long as we are open to see the counterpart in another light, to think a little from their perspective. I was lucky in that respect. My parents taught me to always communicate clearly what I was thinking and feeling and even though it would sometimes get really messy we were able to work things out. Misunderstandings definitely happened along the way, but when you are open to communication those can be identified and become a laughing matter, rather than the end of the world.

Now, although we may be separated by half the globe, deep down I know that no matter what happens, I can count on my sisters. They are my crutches. And seeing them as happy as they are brings me even greater joy.

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Roger Smith
Roger Smith
17 jun 2023

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