Friday, October 23, 2009

Ode

My little sister could be the most remarkable person I have ever met. Nothing specific happened recently to remind of this, and anybody who reads here regularly is well aware of her many outstanding traits...but I found myself lost in thought this morning (sitting in traffic...ugh) lamenting that I don't see her as much as I did before school started, and being thankful for how easy she makes my life.

That may sound odd, considering that I pretty completely re-organized my life to move her out here with me. I guess, in the absolute sense, life would be easier if she didn't live with me...but that was never an option I would have been able to live with. So, the moving in part was pretty much out of our control, but I can tell you absolutely that the ease with which it has worked is entirely due to her.

There are a million things about normal teenagers that could cause me all kinds of trouble, and she foists none of them on me. She could be sneaky. She could argue with me. She could not tell me what she is thinking. She could skip school work. She could test limits. She could ignore me, or openly defy me. She could resent that The Boy gets my attention. Or the babies. Basically, she could be a 14 year old girl...

But she does none of that. She has an enormous amount of freedom...an amount that would be totally unmanageable for almost anyone else I have ever met at her age. I give her that much independence because a) she has proven capable of handling it, and b) it is just plain easier. Checking to make sure she did her homework every night, or enforcing a strict curfew, or lecturing her on what she can and can't do, or explaining why it is important that I spend a certain amount of time at school...all of that stuff takes work, and the fortunate truth of my parenting is that I don't have to do any of it.

What makes her so remarkable is that she just gets it. I've never had to tell her why it is important that she do well in school, or why she needs to listen to me or to someone else...she just understands it all on her own. She knew that I had a responsibility to get up every day and go to work, and just inherently understood that she had the same responsibility to take school just as seriously. She has just never had the same self-absorption that most kids have (and that I certainly had at her age) and has never really had to be taught about responsibilities and priorities and the like.

I think that is a lot of why people who meet her are so genuinely taken with her. Not only is she incredibly sharp and self-confident and self-assured...she just naturally thinks of others and their feelings in every interaction she has, and that, to me, is a lot of what comes across as her maturity level. Most people develop that sort of external awareness at a much later age...but she just sort of has it.

It would just be so easy for her to have all kinds of issues, and they would all be so explicable that they would almost be forgiven. Marginal family life when she was little...lost both parents...older sister moved her to a new city, and was totally ill-equipped to deal with an emotionally wounded 10 year old...dropped right into a social circle unlike anything she ever knew before...hard-to-define system of supervision...not much in the way of authority figures. It is a psychiatrist's dream. And yet, the one psychiatrist she even saw (at the insistence of the court;-)) basically said "There is no reason for her to keep coming, she is impossibly well-adjusted".

Anyway, I am rambling now, and kind of gushing. And I am not real sure what the point of this post is, other than me feeling like writing it. But I was thinking this morning about how incredibly lucky I am to have her live with me, to have her as a sister, and just basically to know her at all. She is an amazing kid, and I have to remember to tell her that:-)

8 comments:

DSS said...

I know you probably tell her how great she is all the time, but wow. This post is truly amazing. Perhaps one day you will print it and give it to her in a letter? I can only imagine what it would mean to her :)

Smoking Hot Roommate said...

Oh, I heart, heart, heart this!!!

I completely agree with your assessment, and I feel like "remarkable" is a very appropriate word. My father and sister and I have talked before about being better people for having her in our lives.

Can I tell you a secret, though? She is a whole lot more like her older sister than you often give yourself credit for. You both share the wonderful ability to completely engage everyone you ever talk to, such that they feel like there is nobody else in the room when you are talking to them. She gets that from you, you know:-)

The Boy said...

Ditto, SHR. A lot of what we all love about Munchkin is that she is so much like you!

Just taller.

Our Happy Married Life... said...

Awww, this is sweet. And SHR and the Boy are right-just from reading your blog for so long...She is the way she is because of YOU. You have and continue to do a great job.

Lori S-C said...

you should both be very proud....

scienceandlife said...

You are fortunate to have such a wonderful sister, and she's lucky to have you.

It always amazes me how much I can learn about life and myself from my younger siblings. There really is nothing like a strong sibling relationship.

Rachel H. said...

So sweet! It's so nice to see posts like this! It is really nice to see people being grateful for those people in their lives! :)

laurwilk said...

Aww, cute! And I like SHR and Boy's comments too. You definitely do have the ability to completely engage people. I'm sure my last job would prefer you to be less engaging - maybe then I could have been a bit more productive! :) Miss you - we haven't chatted in too long!