It’s Saturday morning here in the Merlin house. My sisters are watching cartoons, my dog is playing with the family’s German shepherd, and I’m drinking a cup of coffee I didn’t have to pay for. Living here is easy and familiar.
My sisters don’t forget anything. Last night I showed them how to feed my guinea pigs and promised to teach them how to do the morning routine today. And what’s the first thing they asked me about when I got up?
Watching them grow has been a weird experience. I usually only know them in the summertime when I wind up coming around for any length of time. Not sure why that happens, but it does.
Somewhere along the line they became people. They’re sentient and it is absolutely bizarre. I guess this is the point where I tell you that I’m quite a bit older than either of them. I was one of the first people to hold them when they were born. My entire grown up life has been dedicated to being a sister and, in a way, a parent.
That hasn’t changed. Now that I’m back in the house, I am still an authority figure. I watch them, read to them, make them breakfast. The thing that has changed is that I am now called upon for advice. They, especially the oldest, asks me endless questions. She’s obsessed with the age difference between us. She really likes to talk about death, which is maybe not as interesting as I think it is. I guess she’s about that age when kids start to comprehend their own mortality. I think it’s a lot more pointed because her parents and siblings are a lot older than she is.
I remember feeling that way when I was a kid. I actually felt that way for a really long time. I worry about her because I recognize the deep similarities between the two of us, and the differences. She’s a sweet girl that shows a great capacity for compassion, but she also has a lot of qualities that make me think she’s going to be more of a follower than a leader. I’m not sure what that’s going to mean for her in the future. Maybe she’ll grow out if it. Or maybe she’ll be the perfect support system. Either way, I just want her to be her own person.
That’s what I want for myself, too. I want to be my own person. Over the last few years that I’ve been in a relationship. In that time, I grew into someone else, someone who was one half to a whole. I’m grateful to be at home with the people who know me best because it gives me the chance to recover the past. In that familiarity I can discover who I want to be in the future because I have the safety of having a strong support system to keep me safe when I fail.
Isn’t that exciting? To have the chance to become someone entirely new?