Monday, October 13, 2008

the Pig.

I'd like to introduce you to my little sister. She is an amazing young woman who I admire and respect SO much despite and probably partly because of our ten year age difference. Pig is 20 years old and a first year student at Smaller School in Another State University.

I did not always love her. In fact, when my poor parents told me that they were expecting an surprise baby, I was furious. You see I was a very very spoiled 9 year old. My grandfather was in the hospital dying and my parents were already stretched thin. I did not want to share their already limited time. I threw a book at my dad and made him of the 2 times in my life that I've ever seen him with tears in my eyes. It didn't phase me then, but now I wish that I had accepted the impending birth with a little more grace.

I generally do not love babies. I am not a very maternal person. I hope to one day have a couple of my own, but to be perfectly honest, I adore them once they can talk, when they can reason and when they are their own little people. The same holds true for Pig. The very first time I held her she pooped. I'm relatively sure that this was a sign that she was as unimpressed with me as I was with her.

Gradually, I grew to love her because she was my sister and you love your family. But then, as I matured and she grew up, I came to love her for the amazing human being and best friend that she is.

Some of the qualities that I appreciate the most about her are her compassion, her sense of humor and her ability to be herself when so many of her peers are more concerned with being part of the crowd.

She wants to teach special education and work with students with autism. She is GOOD at this. She truly has a gift. She is quiet and patient and calm even when being screamed at, kicked or bitten. She sticks up for their rights and is always the first to tell someone when they are being cruel to someone with no defense. And she does this in a kind way without making someone feel that they are stupid or ignorant. Smaller School in Another State University has a very strong Greek Life population and she did end up joining a sorority. She loves the sisterhood and the friendships, but she is quick to advocate for diversity and service when some of her less open minded sisters argue against it.

She is FUNNY. She has an ability to point out the humor in any situation. She considers herself to be socially 'awkward' and rather than hiding those 'awkward' qualities, she hams them up to make people laugh. She isn't funny because she tries to be...she just IS. For example, at a party, a guy she was casually friends with came up to her with this 'line.'

"Pig, we gottstaa get outta here"
"Why do we gotsta get outta here Robadoo?" -pig
"Cuz we can't have S-E-X here Pig."
"Robadoo....we can't have S-E-X anywhere. EVER." -pig
you might not find this as funny as I do...but I find it hilarious, if you could hear her tone of voice.

She doesnt make excuses for who she is or what her foibles might be. She knows full well that she is shy. She knows that she will never been the 'most popular' or the 'party girl' and she would never try to be. If she doesn't want to do something whether it's get wasted, have sex or get high...she doesn't. She explains her respect for herself to her friends, and gains their respect rather than their laughter. Her guy friends call her "the real girl." The one that they feel they always know she's being herself around them. I hope that she learned that from me because if there is one thing that I hope that I've taught her, it is that she is an amazing person. An amazing beautiful soul who doesnt need to try to be anything else.

When she was running track in her junior year, she started dry heaving before races. At the same time her grades were really slipping and I kept trying to convince my parents that this was not normal, that the two were combined. Finally they listened to me, and took a good look at her and took her to a counselor. He assessed that she was mildly depressed and had extreme performance anxiety. It came out that for most of her academic life she had felt that it's always been a little bit easier for everyone else. That she always had a little more weight to carry, some sort of self imposed care-taker issue. I see that so very much in myself and hate that she struggled with it on her own for so long. She is doing better now, after counseling, but still has to remind herself that she is successful, that she is intelligent, that she CAN pass math. I know from my own experience that this is not something you can teach someone and that confidence whether academic or emotional is born from within. But oh how I hope that some day she does realize just how special and smart she really is.

When i was struggling with my own anxiety issues, I found the most comfort from my 10 year younger sister because she was the only one outside of my husband who truly listened to what I was really saying. Who understood what the fear really was. I am so grateful for that compassion.

I know that her strength comes from our shared experiences and from the experiences that she is having on her own now that she is an adult and independent. She has, in her short life, watched her grandparents die from cancer, had a father old enough to be her grandfather, watched her father recover from a mini-stroke, watched him recover from open heart surgery AND was his chaperone and driver for a summer. She has dealt with a mother who though she is a wonderful person, is not an EASY person. She has torn her ACL and recovered faster than surgeons expected through incredible work ethic and personal commitment to her own health and not giving up when it hurt. She has travelled outside the country and within and this summer is spending 6 weeks at a camp for children with Autism. She has been the personal care giver for a handicapped 20 year old for 2 summers. She has been a sister and a friend. In her short 20 years, she has more life experience than some 50 year olds that I know.

This is my sister...I hope that you enjoyed meeting her :-)


Wolf said...

how beautiful. i once had such a close relationship with my sister, and it hasn't been the same the last few years with everything we have experienced. i'm glad you are such an amazing big sister.

Jen said...

I love that post. I was 5 y.o. when my lil bro came along. I was ok until the day he was born & I was a bratt about him then. I love him to pieces & he is one my best buds now but boy did we fight!

She is beautiful!

(oh found you through SITS)

Imperfect said...

what a beautiful tribute to your sister. love it! Sometimes I wish I had a sister. I definitely understand how tough it is to watch your dad recover from a stroke. Mine had one that very nearly killed him when he was 46. I know...that's crazy young. But he survived and now the side effects are very minimal. The average person would have no idea what he went through. Thanks for sharing your sister with us. She sounds so amazing.


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