Me and my sister are like chalk and cheese. I was the little girl who wouldn’t stray far from the skirts of her mother; seeking approval at anything unknown. I was sensible and ponderous, and knew the consequences of my actions, weighing up the possibilities with studious intent before deciding on breaking the rules or not. Don’t get me wrong, there were times I would just do it anyway, but I knew there would be trouble. Take for instance the time when we were doing a ‘bring and buy’ for the Brownies. My friend convinced me on a Sunday that we should go and knock on doors, collecting presents to sell to raise money for the African kids. I knew there would be trouble.
My mother was one of those women who absolutely wouldn’t let you knock on people’s doors on a Sunday, as it was the Lord’s Day and people wouldn’t want to be disturbed from their families. My family are not remotely religious, only going to church as a child on brownie occasions and christenings, but my mum was eternally mindful of everyone else, and therefore it was not done. We were not allowed to knock for friends in the street, so we used to ride around the cul de sac on our bikes, or watch out for our friends to do the same. This was before the widespread use of mobiles!
Anyway, I knew there would be repercussions, but I did it anyway. The upshot was that I was grounded for two weeks, and had to miss out on the ‘bring and buy’ sale that I had been so desperate to help out with. Life’s a b*@tch!
My sister on the other hand was flighty and accident prone, and this led to a multitude of A&E visits through our childhood (the first time I went to A&E myself was at 17 with diabetes; before that I was the picture of health).
The first occasion I remember was my sister running down a hill (with my mother as the soundtrack “don’t run down the hill Danielle!!! You’ll fall!!) I secretly was willing her to fall; the only way I would be able to push the pram of the six month old baby that my mother looked after was if something happened to my sister. Low and behold, she fell, skated down the concrete on her forehead and scraped all the skin off. She still has a dent where she hit a stone and I smugly pushed the baby home while my mum ran off to patch my sister’s face back together. Triumph!
In fact I was rarely concerned about my accident prone sister, more annoyed that she had ruined my day. The day I took her out tree climbing and she fell into nettles: day ruined. Had to drag her home crying to mum, only to get told off. The day she fell in the rose bush at a friend’s house: not so bad, mum took her home, I got to stay. The day she fell backwards off a swing because she wanted to wave at her big sister: day at the park ruined, spent evening with old lady across the road as mum took her to A&E.
It came to a head when she fell off the worktop trying to reach the biscuit tin when mum wasn’t in and cracked her head on the slate floor. I was so mad at her, but had it in my head that she wasn’t to go to sleep. I was sixteen and angry, so spend an hour yelling “if you go to sleep I will BLOODY KILL YOU!!” until my mum got home and rushed her to A&E. She had concussion; apparently my gentle bedside manner had saved her life.
Isn’t it funny how you actually despite your siblings at times? Now I would throw myself under a bus if it prevented her from getting a paper cut, but then she was literally the bane of my life.