Sister Dearest

The last time my older sister visited was three years ago, just after I’d moved into my house. I love my sister. We were born ten months apart, in the same year, and were always the same grade in school. So we were as close to twins as two sisters can be without actually sharing a womb. For the first 17 years of my life, she was the person I spent more time with than anyone else. But she’s the older sister; in fact, she’s the oldest of four sisters. And like many oldest sisters, she was always inclined to be bossy and yes, judgmental.

So the last time she was here, three years ago, she walked in and immediately began criticizing pretty much everything about the house and everything in it. She kept it up the whole time she was here. By the time she left, I was devastated. Even my house painter turned to me and said, “Wow. Your sister sure is mean to you.”

She arrived again this morning, for the first time since then. My husband and mom met her at the airport and brought her back here, and I was bracing myself for more of the same. But this time, she actually had positive things to say. She liked the way I had the chairs re-upholstered. She loved my tablecloth, and the painting over the fireplace. She approved of my plans to paint the bottom cabinets blue. She didn’t even make her usual snide remarks about my housekeeping. What a relief.

I’m guessing my mother gave her a talking-to in the car on the way here, and told her to be nice. I can live with that.

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