As the older sister by nine years, I have seen my younger sibling transform from a munchkin to a full-fledged adult. That is, indeed a wild ride. I still think of my sister as the little girl with the bangs and the button-nose playing with a Kermit the frog stick when she was four years old. It doesn’t matter that she now has two daughters, one of whom is two months older than my very own son. She overcame time and beat me to parenthood. To her it’s an odd badge of honor. Despite her added two months of parenting wisdom, she is still the little girl with the Kermit stick and the bangs. That will not change.
I miss that little munchkin who was innocent and so happy with a stick for a toy. It was the first Christmas gift I had bought for anyone with my own money. It wasn’t much. The image still brings tears to my eyes. Despite our age difference we were both raised in poverty but had laughs to get us through.
Her metamorphosis into an adult was not easy for my mother and was just a bit of a ghost machine for me. I don’t know how her transition occurred. But it did.
She continues to morph in ways that makes me wonder if I am still changing. Am I still “evolving”? Surely, I must be but it takes looking at her changes to ponder mine. Her attitudes and beliefs are evolving. Slowly. She went from just wanting to eat McDonald’s to now eating broccoli (and being proud of that). She went from wild child, to only-skirt wearing Christian girl to being a jean-wearing Christian. She went from being very narrow in her scope of adventures to be a bit more willing to try new things. She was taken back at first by my work in the HIV field and now she has helped me run focus groups to help improve services for those infected and affected.
Change. Metamorphosis can be good. So many people relish in the fact that “they are who they are” and that they “won’t change for anybody.” Change, however, shouldn’t be a dirty word. We evolve. We improve. We mold in new beliefs and attitudes into our being and pass those on to the next generation. Obviously, we still need to hold on to core beliefs and values as that is what drives us forward as well. Yet change can actually help us maintain our core.
My sister still hates traveling. I’m working on that. We differ on parenting beliefs. Don’t know how that will turn out. Her two months of additional parenting skills doesn’t outweigh my extra nine years of life. That’s what I like to tell her. We agree to disagree. That is huge in itself. We are evolving.
Although, truth be told. I still want her to be that munchkin with bangs. It just warms my heart.