A Sister's Point of View

November 22, 2010
By Coleman SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
Coleman SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"take the world nice and easy and the world will take you the same"

I’m standing in the doorway of my room when I hear it. That noise, that familiar sound coming from the bottom of the stairs, sending a message to my brain, screaming out to me, here we go again. “MAEVEEE!” I pause, needing a second to roll my eyes at the redundant request of my name. “MAEVEEEEEEE”, “WHAT!” I snap back promptly, before he can get in another. “Where’s your deodorant?” Even longer pause. Yes, my 21 year old, 6’7, 250 pound brother, did just in fact ask for his 17-year-old sisters, ocean breeze Secret deodorant. “What, why?” I responded in a why-am-I-even-asking-tone. “Why do you think? Throw it down”. I stood at the top of the stairs with a baffled expression completely mismatching the “why am I surprised” emotion in my soul. We exchanged a glance for just a second before a smile stretched across both our faces alongside a slight laugh, in which time I could have already thrown down the deodorant, for I was certain this was a battle I was not going to win. “Come on Shane, are you serious”, I said. “Hurry up and throw it down my rides guna be here in 2 seconds, I don’t have any more” he shot back. “You’re seriously disgusting, what’s next? My toothbrush” I said. “I’ve been using your toothbrush for about a week now. Awesome. I threw the deodorant down the stairs into his careless grasp and watched my older brother apply women’s deodorant to his body, and shoot out the door. I sat there for a minute, reviewing the past few moments in my head, not quite sure how to describe it. Typical Shane I thought. His quiet demeanor and rough rugged strides scare most people, but not me. I know him to down to the scarred knees and the “last minute” Christmas cards. I’ve always loved these kinds of moments we’ve shared together. Most of the time it’s stupid little stuff like giving him my deodorant- but it’s the quiet moments in between where we look at each other and can’t help but smile. The moments where I see how happy I am he’s no one else brother but mine.

December 5th 1992. This was the day I formally met Kevin, Shane, and Brendan, and well, the rest is history.... but not really. What was to follow was 17 inevitable years packed with name calling, rivalry, laughing, shouting, pushing, shoving, standing up for, covering for, dreaded family photos, crying, looking up to, lunch-making, bribing, more shouting, jumping on, unpleasant holidays, and generally just battling through this thing we call childhood. I guess the relationship I share with the 3 older men in my life can be whirlwind of complications and generally just a mess, but when it really comes down to it, it’s very simple. I could show you countless pictures or the newly formed bruise on my upper left arm, or hey, even the tiny bag of sand I saved from the trip to South Carolina that one year, but what would really be beneficial for you, is if I showed you through my words. If I show you through my stories, my learned lessons, and most importantly, through my fondest memories, I can show you the only way in which I find accurate to describing this beautiful bond within my life. I can show you a sister’s point of view.

Ever since I knew what it meant to be protected, I knew that I was. When my brothers and I were little and it was time for bed we would go about our normal rituals as antsy little children do. Brush your teeth, wash your face, say your prayers blah blah blah go to bed. I would hesitantly shuffle into my room and them into theirs next door, and once the jumping around and shouting silly remarks had steadied to a dead halt, I would lie awake in the dark, eyes fixated on the bleak ceiling. Most nights I would lie awake for hours as the typical thoughts of a 6 year old girl swirled about my mind-monsters in the closet, the boogie man under my bed-and when I was really scared and lonely I would turn to my big brother. I was always aware that he was just on the other side of the wall, just a knock away. On nights like this I would turn over to the barren wall and slightly knock upon it, awaiting Brendan’s response. He would copy and respond with the same knock, and we would go back and forth, back and forth, in a repetitive and almost musical like pattern until I was too tired to anymore, and I would fall asleep. Looking back in my memory if I push aside the daily life lessons from my mom, I can find somewhere in the depth of it all her words to me, “One day Maeve, one day, you’ll see how lucky you are to have these boys.” Rolling my eyes I would say, “ok Mom, I get it.” And now I’m here. Just where she told me I’d be (not literally I suppose), but here nonetheless, sitting in front of a computer screen, searching for the words in my soul to express just how lucky I am to have them. Somewhere between the strings of memories entangled about one another in my mind are the bits and pieces of my childhood, which was constantly kept interesting by my brothers, to say the very least. Sure, I went through a period of playing Barbies, and dress up and such, but rather than spending my time shopping with a sister and having makeovers, I spent my time as a guinea pig for Shane’s wrestling moves, or watching Kevin and Brendan scream at each other over game of Madden.

Growing up we fought a lot. I was often called spoiled or a brat and I won’t pretend like things never got a little physical. As a little girl I would often hear people say to me, “You have three older brothers and no sisters? I feel SO bad for you”, but I always knew differently, I always knew how lucky I was. I remember conspicuously the first time I really felt like this. Kevin was heading off to his freshman year of college, it was 4 in the morning, and I was wide-awake to listen to him shuffle about in his room, gathering his things. Seven years older than me, I had watched him through it all. For the last 4 years I’d seen him fight with my parents over grades, bad decisions, and unnecessary smart-ass remarks, and now this same dauntless brother of mine was off to a whole new world. The same brother who slept on the ground with me Christmas Eve, when I had convinced him we could only hear Santa on the roof by doing so. The same brother who I’d caught giving Emma the new girlfriend, my favorite stuffed animal. The same brother who never let me win in a one-on-one basketball game out in the backyard, not because he didn’t want me to, but because he never let me take the easy way out. This same brother was not going to be around as often anymore. I could still hear him scuffling around in his room, and a profound feeling of disappointment took over my body as I realized he had gone out the door without saying goodbye. That same feeling of disappointment you get at age 5, when mom tells you no, you can’t have another double- stuffed Oreo, even when you were sure she was going to let you and suddenly the whole world tumbles down to your feet right before your very eyes. In that quiet moment of lying in my all-of-a-sudden dark and vacant bedroom, it was like I had come to the realization that I was actually going to miss him. As I hopelessly tried to fall back to sleep, my bedroom door was opened unexpectedly and a small streak of light flowed through the blackness that had just previously dominated my room. Instinctively I shut my eyes tight and pretended to sleep, as I was unsure of who it was entering my room. The next thing I knew, Kevin was kneeling at my bed saying, “Maeve... Maeve are you awake?” I lay there for a minute with no response, unsure of what to do. I heard him start to get up and before I could say anything he gave me a kiss on the head, and a “Love you” and he was gone. For all the days the live, I’ll never forget how happy I was in that single moment to be his sister.

If I go back in the depth of my memories, I can see us now on the rides to Dewey Lake in the summertime. Dad at the wheel, Mom with her feet up on the dashboard, book in hand, as Kevin, Shane, Brendan and I occupy the tight squeeze in the backseat. The windows are down and sun is shining as the cool breeze blows back my hair to the beat of the Allmans Brothers Jessica, dads favorite summertime jam. Kevin, Shane, and Brendan surround me as they start on their expected quoting of inappropriate movie lines which are every so often interrupted by an undesirable fart or burp: the anthem of a typical teenage boy. I learned at young age things like this keep the day humorous and light- they’re gross and more than not unwanted but they are what they are. It’s moments like these that bring me back to days that I shared with my siblings. Days where they’ve made me cry the hardest I’ve ever cried, and days where they made me laugh so hard I didn’t think I’d ever breathe again. When we fight its brutal- but it’s real, and it’s refreshing. I’m not afraid to walk up to any one of them and scream as loud as I can in their face to get my point across-because thats what all those years of their pushing and shoving and yelling have taught me. If you’re going to take a stand, then hold your ground and do it. These are the people we find in our lives, the people we simply cannot explain. The ones that you know no one else cares to hear about, but you just want to stop and scream to the world to listen to you- because you know that they are simply amazing. I can’t count the number of times people have learned my last name and said to me, “Oh this can’t be good”. There’s no doubt my brothers have made a name for me, and each time I hear a comment like that I can’t help but smile. I don’t care if you think they’re troublemakers, or smart-asses, or whatever you want to call it. They are who they are, they’re my brothers, and I’m proud.

I’m lying in my parent’s bed flicking through the channels when I hear it. That noise, that familiar sound coming from the bottom of the stairs, sending a message to my brain, screaming out to me, here we go again. I can hear them making a break for it, their heavy bodies pounding against the shaky carpeted stairs as they lunge upwards to my parent’s room. All at once, there they are. Brendan and Shane leap onto the bed and bury my body beneath themselves, nearly collapsing it-, which in comparison to them is meager and weak. I scream, but it’s hard to make out under their heavy weight. Shane gets off, Brendan rolls over. “GET OFFFFFFFFFF” I finally manage to get out. Their laughter shows me their level of concern and before I can take a breath, I cannot help but let out my own laugh. Then Kevin’s voice pops into my head. A reminder of the one-on-one drives we often took to wherever he needed me to take him that day. We chat and I’d inform him of current events in my life and he would interrupt me if he felt the need, “Well if there’s one thing I’ve taught you Maeve what is it?” And I would respond, “drink two bottles of water on a rough night before bed, so you won’t get a hangover” “Well that too, but what I meant is don’t ever let anyone push you around... cause then I’ll just beat the shit out of them”. And I would say, “Ok ok Kevin I get it, you say that all the time”. Then he’d look me straight in the eye and say to me, “hey. I’m your big brother, that’s what I do”.

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