You are allowed to protect your baby sister so that she remains in a happy, giant bubble, far away from bills, landlords, and men, right? Right? It’s reasonable that she remain approximately 12 years old forever, arguing at the lunch table that the Spice Girls are no good, playing lacrosse, and dating nobody? Perfectly reasonable. OK, so maybe extreme eternal youth is totally creepy in an “Interview with the Vampire” Claudia kind of way. And it isn’t truly what I want for my own little sister, but recently I’ve found my protective-sibling-claws coming out.
My baby sister turned 21 over the summer while she was home from college and trapped in bucolic America with our lovely, supportive, and wonderful (mostly non-drinking) parents. Because I believed it would be fundamentally irresponsible to allow my sister’s benchmark birthday go unmarked by a crowd and a few margaritas, I invited her into town to spend the day with my gang of friends — my older group of pals, long out of college and pushing 30.
So of course it was at least marginally my fault when little sis became a little soused and spent the night chatting it up with a certain male friend of mine. They disappeared together into a world of sci-fi fantasy, fervently discussing Robert Jordan’s 1,000-page tomes on princes and magic in a dying world, while the candles flickered and our faces flushed. I kept trying to pull her into the rowdy fun of the larger group, but she remained clear in her desire to turn down drinks and discuss “Wheel of Time” with Alan, going into detail about how it’s an ideal read for a train trip across the Italian countryside. Which, of course, led to his inviting her to continue on about the art she was so passionately studying there in her semester abroad. And then that led to generalized conversation of what moves a person and makes them feel.
Wonderful! Fantastic! My plan to give my sister a fabulous birthday succeeded so well; she had such a fabulous time with my friends. But perhaps too fabulous …
When I invited her back out for New Year’s Eve, she and this fella chummed it up again; they spoke hurriedly and close over I-don’t-even-know-what, having super fun while I super stewed. Who is this dude? Is he trying to put a move on my sister? But I know who Alan is. I know who he’s dated. Hell, I know what his bathroom looks like. He’s my friend. He’s a super guy with Ivy-League smarts, dancing skills, and a mean streak of Scrabble know-how. So, when I started loudly talking about geldings and bull castration, my husband claimed I might have possibly, honey, been slightly overreacting.
But what do you do when your baby sister grows up? When I moved out she was 12 and completely disinterested in discussing art over candlelight. Now that she’s grown into a real person I’m maybe having some trouble dealing. Especially when she’s being a real person with Alan. Who I haven’t killed. Yet.
How do you deal when your younger sister suddenly is girlfriend material for one of your friends?