My little sister is the best. In all honesty, we are twins, so she technically isn’t my little sister, but I will always think of her that way. I had to grow up faster than her, she has always been the childish one. Mind you, I don’t mean that in any negative way at all, one of the things I love most about her is her playfulness.
I have had to protect her for as long as I can remember. When we were young, I shielded her from the grown ups. I was too young to really understand why they wanted to hurt her, but I could sense when she was in danger. That’s when I started hiding her away. I was very good at keeping her in places where she wouldn’t be found, then distracting the grown ups. They didn’t hurt me as much, at least as far as they knew. They may not have been as hostile to me, but they never considered how it makes a child feel to have to be his sister’s protector and caregiver. I learned distrust at an early age.
As the years went on, I kept her hidden away. It was the best, and only way I knew to keep her safe. She got to continue to be a child while I was the responsible one. Maybe she wasn’t totally oblivious to what was happening, but I kept her from knowing the worst of it.
One of my regrets in keeping her in hiding is that I didn’t nurture her as much as she needed. I did the best I knew, but now I can see I could have done a lot more. Just keeping her safe was a huge accomplishment though.
I may have have kept her locked away longer than was necessary. I think we both fell into a pattern that seemed best for us. She could play in the safety of our home and I faced the world for us and took on the responsibilities. This went on for years, until she started getting restless and wanted to go out into the world herself.
That was such a huge struggle, I was so used to keeping her safe, I could only imagine disaster if she left my protection. She kept trying though, and I started to see that she needed to be out on her own. I wasn’t convinced she didn’t need my protection, but honestly she was just wearing me down.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love her and will be here to take care of her if she needs me. All the years of being the grown up, even when we were kids has taken their toll. I am tired, and she is right, she can face the world now in relative safety, and let me rest. She goes out more and more now, testing the waters. After all those years if seclusion, she needs to adjust. The day is coming soon though, that she will take on my role. She will keep me safely away, let me rest. She can’t give me back the childhood I didn’t get, but I can take pleasure in watching her explore. She is still a child. She can benefit from my knowledge while remaining curious and playful. I can live my childhood vicariously through her now.
I love my little sister. She knows I was just trying to keep her safe, but I know she is a bit afraid that I will try to lock her away again. Honestly though, I don’t have the energy. I will be totally content to “retire” and let her lock me away. She can be free now.