- Family and Parenting
Our Sister, The Boss
Her Majesty Arrives
It seems the first born in a family automatically assumes they’re the boss of their younger siblings.
Such was the case in our family. There were eventually six children in all.
There were five boys and one girl. Guess which one had to be born first. That’s right, the female. Her name was Deborah Ann but we just called her Debbie, or "the boss." She was born October 16, 1949 in Framingham, MA.
The first four of us were all born there, each about a year apart from one another. But we weren’t there long.
Mom remarried to a career military man and from that point on it seemed we were continuously on the move.
Since she was the only girl in our gang, it was imperative she establish herself as “the boss”, if for no other reason than self preservation. This she did early on. And for the first few years she reigned supreme, being the biggest.
Up to that point, Debbie had been able to whip us all in any scrap we became entangled in. However, Tom, the next oldest, was rapidly catching up in size and I can still hear Mom’s warning counsel to our sister.
I'm The Boss! Ya Got That?
She Reigned Supreme
Debbie In Her Store
“You better be careful little girl. It won’t be long before those boys are going to be big enough to beat you up.”
Sure enough that day came. She pushed Tom an inch too far and Tom thrashed her soundly…our hero! Debbie promptly sought shelter from Tom’s righteous wrath in the bathroom where she locked herself in. This was her normal hangout anyway and we were used to waiting long periods of time for her to come out. (What do women find so interesting in there they have to put everybody else’s schedule on hold anyway?)
Meanwhile Tom had learned a new trick…how to open a locked door using a small screw driver. It wasn’t long before our dear sister ran shrieking from the bathroom seeking Mom. Mom calmly placed herself between the two combatants and ordered everybody to sit on the sofa. Of course, being careful to keep Debbie and Tom separated.
Mom began her speech by reminding our sister about the warnings she had given about her brothers one day having their revenge. Debbie stared at the floor as she nodded in the affirmative. Next mom gave the standard parent’s lecture about us being sister and brothers and would someday understand how important we would be to each other. Being so young we really didn’t understand what she meant.
In spite of the pasting she received from Tom, our sister managed to hold on to her monarchy. Not by physical strength mind you, but by discovering that being older she was naturally a little smarter than the rest of us. However, she could still take me and her other younger brother. That situation didn’t change until I was eleven and she thirteen years old.
In the midst of one knock down drag out brawl I got the upper hand and had almost succeeded in becoming the victor. Much to my surprise, out of nowhere, came Brother Tom to his sister’s rescue. I was the middle child and never got an even break.
Tom later explained his actions. It seemed he understood Mom’s lecture from long ago. This still didn’t explain to me why Debbie was still so “bossy”. It took many years of growing up before I realized my sister’s "bossy" attitude was not one of superiority. It was quite the contrary. She was looking out for me. But before coming to that revelation, there were numerous times we fought (verbally). And for years, I held grudges, whether real or perceived, even refusing to speak to her. It never occurred to me I might have been in the wrong.
Since I left home at the age of 16 (ran away), I had developed a serious drinking problem. It was about ten years ago Debbie decided she’d had enough of my shenanigans and it was time for some “tough love”.
In no uncertain terms she declared she no longer had time to fool with me and my problems…she had a business to run. Then suggested I not come back and to seek help.
This turn of events threw me for a loop. It broke my heart. I must have been a terrible person if my own sister didn’t want anything to do with me! She stuck to her guns. I realized for the first time I needed help and my life was out of control. I got the help I needed…thanks to my dear sister. Her actions saved my life!
The following years brought us closer together then we’d ever been. My brothers and I still referred to her as “The Boss”, but now always with affection. I still remember Mom’s lecture of long ago and realize how right she had been.
Unfortunately, we lost Debbie not long ago. She passed away at the young age of sixty years old.
I miss the boss.