Last week, watching a rerun of my favorite sit-com “The Big Bang Theory”, Sheldon said, “My sister was enjoying her life wrong.”
As funny as it was, that line hit home. I was surprised at how big a laugh it got. There were obviously a lot of other people out there feeling judgmental about how their sisters led their lives.
‘way back at the beginning of this Blog thing, I wrote about my sister and how embarrassing I found the fact that at nine years, she still believed in Santa Claus, while I, at age six, already had figured out the hard truth. I’d also figured out that she lived in Fantasy Land. Happily. It made me crazy.
I demanded she face the hard cold fact that we were not getting a new table and chair set for our tea parties but that the old set was sitting in the cellar waiting to be painted.
She had to admit I was right because I dragged her into the basement to look at the old set. She cried. I was – not happy exactly – more like smug – because I was right about something for a change.
It was many years before it occurred to me to wonder why it was so important to me that she be less emotional and more logical in her thinking. I spent our entire childhood trying to get her to face reality (as I saw it). But chipping away at that sunny disposition was a thankless task. Luckily, I wasn’t looking for thanks, so I kept at it.
One of my most successful campaigns to lead Jackie into the land of reason occurred when we went to visit a friend of hers.
Brenda was a very, very erudite woman. A fact she pointed out to you on many – any – possible occasions. She could recite chapter and verse from any book she’d read. And it seemed to me she’d read them all. She did NOT however seem to really understand any of them. I found her amazingly boring and I wanted Jackie to admit I was correct!
I finally won the day. Jackie admitted Brenda was a bore in spite of her “book learning.”
But this time I wasn’t so secure. I couldn’t explain to me just why I wanted to dent Jackie’s happy world filled with folks she liked and fantasies she still enjoyed.
I never really convinced her to look at life as I did. So, I guess I failed. But I’m glad I did. I can still hear her say every spring, “The flowers are coming up” and during the holidays, “Betty, let’s go look at the Christmas lights” with as much enthusiasm as if she hadn’t seen them all the year before.
I never changed Jackie. She changed me.