I’m an advocate for inventing new family traditions. I don’t write letters to congress about them, insisting that they become official holidays so I can have the day off, but I wouldn’t be opposed to that, either. As it turns out most of these invented traditions already fall on or around another recognized holiday, which I just insist on enhancing with my own, and obviously better, ideas.
Our family celebrated one of these new family traditions last month. We call it Big Sister Day. Or alternately (exactly 50% of the time), we call it Little Sister Day. Coincidentally, this day falls on the day immediately following the birthday of either the big or the little sister in our family. So, in March, immediately following Marlo’s birthday, we celebrated Big Sister Day.
This tradition started the day after Marlo was born. We were worried that Wynn, formerly the Center of the Universe to parents and grandparents alike, was not going to appreciate the new member of the family stealing her spotlight. So when Pam brought Wynn to the hospital to meet her new little sister, we surprised her with a party and a new holiday. There was cake, presents and balloons in the hospital room for the inaugural Big Sister Day.
Then as soon as Wynn and the rest of the family left the hospital, she threw a major temper tantrum (her first) and refused to get in the car. But we didn’t give up. We have been celebrating Big and Little Sister Day ever since. And I like it. No, not just because it’s an excuse to have extra cake and presents. But because it gives me a minute to pause, reflect and appreciate what it must be like to be a Big Sister (or a Little Sister), which seems to have both its good and bad parts.
When you are the Big Sister, you do most stuff first, unless it means getting out of diapers, because it really is just easier to keep wearing those things to bed. And there is the pressure to do things first, like go to kindergarten, jump off the edge of the pool or spell your name. It can be frightening to be the Big Sister, but you also get lots of attention. There are big expectations and more controlling parents in your life, usually. This is no different in our house. We anxiously await the milestones for the Big Sister and grieve the same ones when the Little Sister reaches them. The exception being the diapers, of course.
And more recently, now that both sisters can talk, I’ve been asking them to stop and think about what it’s like to have a sister on Big Sister Day.
Me: What do you like best about your sister?
Wynn: Her birthday cake.
>>What would you celebrate on Big/Little Sibling Day?
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