My sister visited for a few days just recently. I love it when she visits. Instantly, wherever I am feels like home. Mark and I named the guest room “The Maryann Room” because she was the first one to use it.
And being around Mary reminds me of who I am and also how I used to act in the dynamic of our Loftus household. Enlightened with those memories and reminders, I appreciate Mark much more. I see myself through Maryann’s actions and comments more accurately as I am than through my own eyes. And I’m reminded that not only was I not an easy older sister to live with, I’m probably not always an easy wife to live with either. My idiosyncracies seem perfectly justifiable when it’s my way versus his, yet when my sister (someone who has loved me for so long and whom I’ve loved for so long that she can be fairly honest with me) makes a comment like “Yeah, it IS ridiculously cold in your house!” or “You are being kind of stubborn, Melissa” or “Nope, that’s NOT a realistic expectation”, I suddenly see myself for who I am. It’s easy when having a disagreement with Mark to think, well, he just doesn’t understand how I grew up and what I’m used to. But when Mary, who grew up in the same situation as me, surrounded by the same influencing factors as me, says or implies that I’m being kind of irrational or bossy or controlling (actually, she rarely says things this bluntly, she has a very gentle way of showing me these things about myself), it seems more real. Poor Mark can tell me something fifteen times and I won’t believe him, but if Mary says it once, it must be so. He must get so frustrated.
And I wasn’t always a very good big sister, but I usually convince myself I’ve come a long way. I actually do laundry on my own now, and I don’t pretend to be bad at folding it so someone else will do it for me. But I still don’t do a lot of stuff ‘cause I dislike it. So next time Mark reminds me that he’s cleaning the toilet for the seventeenth time in a row, (or the shower or the sink for that matter), I should just remember my selfless sister and pick up a brush and get down to that dirty business.
For a little sister, she continues to teach me so much.