Guestposting: Olivia Calls it Splitsville

While I am wrangling a newborn, posting from me will be a little sparse. Thankfully! I have some amazing stand-ins who are here to share some of their most vivid childhood memories. Olivia and her sister, Jenny, share a blog – Lovely At Your Side – and are kind of what I imagine sisters to be in my dream world of “I wish I had a sister!!” Olivia is awesome, I chat with her on twitter often, and I am very grateful she took the time to write a guest post on – what else? – her sister. Jenny also happened to be the officiant at Olivia’s wedding, so if anyone is looking for someone to marry them, check at her website for deets. Now, here is Olivia:

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So before I begin my childhood memory story, I need to give a little background. I’m the oldest in the family, and before my sister was born, when I was a mere 2 years old, I was an avid doll player. I had many baby dolls, and my favorites were the ones named Jenny (yes, multiple dolls with the same name). I loved to carry them, baby them, rock them to sleep. I adored them. So, when the real life baby alive Jenny came along when I was just shy of two and half years, I fell head over heels for her. She was MY baby; if she was crying, I would panic, I would snuggle her, kiss her little feet. She was my dream baby. We were (are) thick as thieves, almost twin like. We had our own language, our own acronyms for things (which we still use), we lived in our own little world.

Which is why, I believe, she was taken so off guard and stunned when I did the unimaginable.

I kicked her out of our shared bedroom.

Not only did I kick her out, but I did it in the most disrespectful way ever: I told Grandma on her. Now, let me get this straight. Jenny never did anything wrong, she just…happened to be in the room which was mine before she came along (albeit, only a month before she came along; we moved into the house in June, she was born in July). I was six, and wanted some…independence? Looking back, I have no real answers. The room wasn’t small; we had matching wooden beds, and we would stay up at night chit-chatting about our dolls, our days, and making up imaginary scenarios in which we were mommies together. But, at some point, the slightly defiant six year old in me decided it was time to split the team up, and we needed our own rooms. To be honest, I was probably, in my head being romantic about it, and the thought of having things such as walkie-talkies (which we never got) to use from room to room, or having “sleepovers” in each others rooms probably was my intent…but I didn’t handle it right.

I complained to our grandmother (and ahem, I happened to be a grandma’s girl then, and now…), and she took it upon herself to help me unload my poor little sister’s clothing from our joint dresser into the other room. Thinking about it now breaks my heart. How cruel a sister was I! But, Jenny, in true Jenny style…said little, sighed, and respected my wishes. She trusted her older sister to know what was best, but, looking back, I wish I had done things differently. I missed her in our room…and know what? Shortly thereafter, midst my parents divorce and strife, we did have our “sleepovers” in each others rooms, and they lasted years (years!) at a time. We couldn’t be without the other one!

Years later, when I went to college first, she would come visit me and despite having no where to sleep, we would curl up in bed, feet to head, and fall asleep, calm, knowing the other was right there. When she went to NYU, I would take the train into the city, and crash on her tiny bed, in her tiny dorm room with her.

download1I guess this is my public apology to my sister. I never intended to kick you out of our room, I guess I just needed some six-year old independence and you were my poor pawn. But what this has proven is that no matter if there’s a bed or not, my room is always your room, and your room is always mine. All we need is a few pillows, blankets, some chocolate, and some good episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Then we’ll be all good to go.

7 thoughts on “Guestposting: Olivia Calls it Splitsville”

  1. I am the sister! I cried in my car reading this after school..where Olivia also works. I appreciate the public apology, but this isn’t even the worst thing she ever did to me. I once (I was like 8) almost smuggled out a bag of hershey kisses from my grandpa’s in my baby doll Moses basket (i hid them under the mattress)- I would have gotten away with it, but Olivia ratted me out! She still claims it was for my own good. So, where’s that apology?

  2. Oh this brought back so many memories. I am the older sister. My little sister came when I was 6 after really wishing for her (and getting a brother in between 🙂 ).
    I was so happy to be able to take care of her and show her the world, I was so happy when they let me walk her in the stroller. Then for some weird reason I started being mean to her… I think it was in part because it was a way of getting closer to my brother… it was like let’s unite against the small one (not proud). It’s not that we were super mean, we just teased her a lot, made up names… used her as our pet (crazy hairdos, make her dance), This sounds like I am awful now.
    Nowadays, we are so close. It is just incredible how much we love and know each other, and it’s powerful to know how we will hopefully be able to be there for each other, for life.
    Thanks for sharing Olivia.

  3. Aunt Jane has now wiped her tears away enough to write about this! I seem to recall how the new room set-up was “sold”- same as when my own sister and I went from roommates to housemates: with the exciting arrival of furniture, in our case, canopy beds, and with many words about how much fun it would be to “have your own space”. Until reading this, I never really thought about how my little sister might have felt, what a loss it might have been- for both of us. But, we kept a special bond room to room; before we signed off for the night, each of us would knock on the wall between our rooms. I didn’t remember this until now, so thank you Livy for bringing back this lovley memory!

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