How to be the Perfect Big Sister

Spoiler alert: You can’t. I learned this the hard way.
Being the first born has its perks, but it also comes with responsibility. A responsibility that for a long time I believed I had squandered. I did not do well in setting an example for my little sisters growing up -not in anything. I was the wild child who drank, smoked, partied too hard, dealt with boys in a promiscuous manner, all while my 12 and 15-year-old sisters watched from the sidelines. And even after this phase of my life was over, I still held onto an immense amount of guilt and shame, specifically in the way I handled myself in situations with the opposite sex. I jumped into an extremely unhealthy relationship when I was 17 and stayed in it until I was 19. This is generally a very delicate growing period in most people’s lives that I turned over to be abused emotionally and physically. And for a while, after I finally found the courage to leave him, I reflected on how this ugly mess could be used for God’s purpose. And indeed, there was good to be found in the wreckage of my soul. However, up until a few days ago I still stood in shame’s shadow, being tortured by the fact that I had failed my baby sisters.
When I found out that my middle sister was going to spend New Year’s Eve in Tahoe with a group of boys, I immediately attempted to sabotage her night, to no avail. When she returned though, she knew something was up, and confronted me about it. I told her that I did not want her to have made the same mistakes I did when I was eighteen. She laughed and said she would not be making those same mistakes. How could she be so certain?
She proceeded to tell me about a journal entry she penned at the age of fifteen in that she had come across recently. She told me that in this entry she consciously noted the consequences I was facing in light of my abusive relationship and swore to be cautious about opening her heart to someone. I was floored. Even though I thought I had failed as a big sister, it was precisely these “failures” that showed Sierra and Sloane how to guard their hearts. I did not want Sierra to make my mistakes, and I don’t think either of them ever will, in fact, they will make their own mistakes, and I will be right there for them to fulfil the role as their big sister when they do. I think that even in my lowest times, I still was fulfilling the role of big sister because they were learning through my pain, and like I told Sierra the other night, I would go through that same pain one hundred more times to ensure that they never do.

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