My Sister Martha

Beck sistersHer name is Martha.

She’s my sister…

As a child, I knew I was a very important part of Martha’s life.  I was the only one she would go potty for.  I was the only one who could braid her hair, taker her into a store, and stop her tantrums.

Sometimes I mourn the loss of the ideal sister, but I remind myself other sisters fight, argue and even hate each other.  I have a much better relationship than that.

Yes, I did feel you put her needs second to Martha’s.  We couldn’t get baby-sitters for Martha.  We couldn’t go on family outings because of Martha’s behavior.  I was never consulted about how I felt about various forms of treatment for her or how they would affect me.  The pain I suffered “for Martha’s good” was unbelievable, when, for example, I was separated for her without visitation.

No, I didn’t resent Martha.  I didn’t resent baby-sitting for her.  I would cancel my plans if there was no baby-sitter for Martha.  I loved her.  I would do anything for her.  She taught me how to love without reservation; without expectation of returned love.  She taught me everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  Martha is no exception.  She taught me human value is not measured with I.Q. tests.

“An Open Letter to my Parents” by Maryjane Westra, Sibling Information Network Newsletter, vol. 8, 1, 1992, p. 4.

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