My sister is alive — no thanks to me.

Following my previous post re Mom’s tantrum stopping plan, E&I asked me to explain my “I was being very ugly to my baby sister” line in my disclaimer. This is especially for E&I so I won’t be offended if you don’t read further.

Right – Mom was the darling of her family – the youngest of three girls, followed by 5 boys. My Ouma wasn’t one of those parents who says “I have no favourites, I treat all my kids the same.” My Mom was her favourite child and I of course was her favourite grandchild – finish and klaar. Not that she didn’t love her other kids and wouldn’t kill for them – it’s just that Mom and I were her favourite favourites. (a huge disservice to me, in hindsight).

Mom was the only one of the kids to get to matric — everyone else had JC and had to leave school to work and bring in money as Oupa was mugged and killed when they were all little and Ouma wasn’t coping with all the mouths she had to feed. Mom also offered to leave once she had her JC but none of her siblings and obviously Ouma would hear of it. She was the beautiful, clever, lovable darling of the clan and they probably pinned their hopes on her going far.

Dad unfortunately got hold of my Mom, knocked her up and that was the end of her going into nursing (her dream). Mom and I lived with Ouma for my first two years while Dad figured out if he A) wanted to marry Mom and B) convert to Christianity from Islam. Ouma was completely against Mom converting and so was Mom. I think she would’ve gone the single Mom route if Dad’s family won the battle of the religions.

Mom and Dad married two years after I was born and we moved into our new home with Dad. I still went to Ouma after school and was spoilt, spoilt, spoilt. I was the new darling of the family (uncles, aunties,etc.) I remember coming across their wedding album when I was in Sub A and in one of the pics at the reception, there’s a little girl tugging at Mom’s sleeve. I asked her who that little girl was and she said it was me. OMW, I was so chuffed that I was at my parents wedding because I knew enough to know that not many of my friends were at their parents’ weddings. Imagine my horror when I go to school the next day and proudly proclaim that I was at my parents’ wedding and my friends all go in unison: But you’re not supposed to be at your parents’ wedding!!! OH the shame – LOL!

In Jan 1981 at the age of 4 yrs and 8 mths my world as I knew it started to disintegrate. Mom announced that she was expecting a baby! She was convinced it was a boy – didn’t go for any scans (did they exist back then?). The thought of having a brother was much more palatable to me than a sister who would be in DIRECT competition for my throne. Fast forward nine months and on September 10 1981, my sister Clementine is born. She was going to be Remy – because she was a boy and I had called her Remy in Mom’s tummy and alles. When they came home from the hospital, I was most disappointed with this little girl. I apparently went on the rampage – where’s Remy, where’s my brother, you promised me a brother! I did some things that I am not proud of to this day and through many hours of therapy, eventually managed to work through and forgive myself for. My sister mercifully cannot remember half of the things I did to her but she does remember me running away from her and never wanting to play with her and always trying to get rid of her in the most horrible ways.

Up to this day, we’re not really that great in each other’s company. We can be together for a few hours but not more than that… because then the horrid brat in me starts to act up and tries to tell her how to run her life and what she’s doing wrong and and and she gets all defensive about the past and and and … I would kill for my sister and I think she would as well for me but I have not been the world’s greatest sister to her.

PS: Mom died in a car crash in 1985 and left a 9 yr old, 4yr old and a 7 month old baby. Ouma was destroyed by this and  drank herself to death. Dad remarried in 1988. And I’ve tried my best to be a better sister since 1985.


11 thoughts on “My sister is alive — no thanks to me.

  1. ludditelass

    Sjoe, Shell, sibling rivalry can be a fierce beast but you tamed it. Well done! I’m so sorry that you have experienced so much tragedy in your life. I’m sure you are a much better sister than you give yourself credit for. Thank you for sharing.

  2. hopefulmom

    {{{{Shell}}}}}. Thanks for sharing. I was in your sister’s shoes as a child, now that my older sister is gone, I feel guilty for ruining her life… Thanks for showing me the other side….

  3. shazdart

    Oh wow, thank you for sharing this with us. I think you can be proud of yourself for becoming a better sister. So sorry for the loss of your Mother and Grandmother, that must be very hard for you. (hugs) xxxx

  4. Jwebber

    Agree with LL. Sibling rivalry can be a bitch sometimes. I was also the queen of hearts before my sister was born (there is a 5 year gap between us) and we’ve only become great friends over the last 7 years or so. I think that you are a better sister than you give yourself credit for.Thank you for sharing this and I am so, so sorry that you lost your Mom and Ouma. That is really sad…xxx

  5. clemensolo

    Oh man so sweet I have tears in my eyes……do you want something from me? lol Ja ja ja enough of all this sentimental stuff jy wiet ek huil gou nuh…..from up to this day from there on I fully agree with you but ja I am glad to have an older sister like you …god knows where I would have ended up if it wasnt for you…..but I still love you dearly I am just sorry I couldnt make you more proud of me. but ja it choices that I took in life which was not the most wisest of all but things turns out that way at the end of the day…..But i am proud of you Big sis…..thank you Love you stacks…….


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