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What I Should Have Done

Updated on February 21, 2016
PAINTDRIPS profile image

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

My sister Lynne

Watercolor on paper.
Watercolor on paper. | Source

I have a little Sister

I have a little sister called Lynne.

She has always been happy, hearty and sweet,

From her braids to her feet.

She was mostly having frivolity, festivity, fun,

I think not that’s

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

When she was a toddler, Mom asked me to watch her.

I thought she was trying, toilsome, trouble.

She was forever shaking off her shirts, shorts, shoes.

What is a big sister to do?

Floor furnace feet

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

That winter when she was one and the floor furnace was on,

She tarried, toddled, tripped, onto it,

And got burns on her feet.

“Weren’t you watching her,” Mom asked me,

So I was mad at Lynne.

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

Floor furnace

Do you remember floor furnaces?

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I could have squeezed her into her shoes.

I could have found the clothes she tries to loose.

I could have swung her ‘round,

To keep her feet up off the ground.

I could have felt bad for her,

Instead of being mad at her.

But that’s

What I should have done.

Cute and sweet.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

A few years later coming home from school,

Such a day of math tests, spelling and history.

Girls jeered, joked, and laughed at my glasses.

Lynne was under a tree having a party with real tea.

And I wistfully wished that were me,

But instead I said, “What a baby!”

Inside, I wallowed in my homework.

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

I could have joined her party zoo.

After all, she had invited me to.

I could have had some warm tea,

With Lynne and her dolls and me,

Under that tree out of the sun.

And that’s

What I should have done.

Stages of adult sibling relationships

Push me!

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

So then I was so bored one day,

Pouting, peevish on the lawn praying,

For something, anything to do.

Lynne ripped, ran, rushed, up to me.

“Push me on my trike, Neesie!”

Her eyes glistened, glittered, glowed,

With her inviting smile.

“Go away,” I said, “I’m busy.”

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

I could have shared her joy.

I could have been her favorite toy.

I could have had some real diversion.

But that’s

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

Lynne and our brother were playing Barbies and cars.

“Let’s pretend Barbie and her husband

are going on a trip,” Lynne said.

“Going camping,” brother replied.

They built race-car roads over the couch and coffee table.

But I was trying to read a big boring book for school.

“You guys are silly, simply, and you’re in my way.”

And I left them there to play.

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

I could have joined the game.

Even if I thought it was lame.

Instead of making them shoo,

Barbie’s big sister could have gone too.

We could have smelled the pine

In the mountains for a time.

And played in the pretend sun.

And that’s

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

She squealed, squawked, squinted with delight,

As she got closer to winning.

When she won the game by chance,

She threw up her hands and did a dance.

“Yes, yes, yes,” she yelled, yipped, yelped.

There I sat, unhappy, uneasy, unfortunate, and made.

“I’ll never play with YOU again!

You are such a bad winner.”

What I should have done.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

I could have been happy for her.

I could have remembered how many years

She had been trying to beat me with frustrated tears.

I could have danced the “yes, yes, yes”

dance with her some.

But that’s

What I should have done.

My best friend, my sister.

Watercolor on paper
Watercolor on paper | Source

Are you lacking, looking, longing for a best friend?

One who will stay up late

And talk about love, life, and cookies?

One who knows what you like,

And know what you hate?

The unfound friend probably has the same address as yours.

Try to be careful, cautious, concerned with your sister.

Think through what you say.

It mega-matters.

Choose to have games, goals, good while there’s time,

So when you grow up you won’t find,

You have to look band and rerun,

Now that’s

What I should have done.

My little sister, Lynne.
My little sister, Lynne. | Source
Lynne.
Lynne. | Source

Sisters are precious.

My sister is now my best friend and my confidant. She keeps me from over-reacting to things, she encourages me to fight for what is right and she cries with me when I am sad. When did she get to be so wise? I may never know. But I do know that I'm glad she is so forgiving of all the slights I gave her as children. I can't imagine my life without her. Sisters are so precious.

Best Friends

Source

Sisterly Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thanks Gus. I drip a lot.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 2 years ago from USA

      Paintdrips - I have known many drips over my lifetime, but never before have I come upon a walking paintdrip. Now that I have achieved that piece of work, allow me to tell you that I enjoyed your sister story (poem) and the illustrations that went with it. Thanks.

      Gus :-)))

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you everyone for commenting on my little sister story.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      That's very similar to my sister too. This sister that I'm writing about was the baby sister 7 years younger than I. We have an incredible relationship today, but then I thought she was a pest.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Sisters are indeed precious! I remember feeling the same way about my sister that is a year younger than I. We shared the same room while growing up. I remember one day putting a line down the room that she could not cross, and I had the closet and door on my side! How cruel! Times have changed, and we are now friends even though miles separate us.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image
      Author

      Denise McGill 3 years ago from Fresno CA

      Thank you so much. I think you are right about our moms. They only did what their moms did to them, so its understandable. Still I think I have such a good relationship with my little sister because she is such a sweet and forgiving person. She didn't hold any of that stuff against me.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 3 years ago from London

      Sad to say I was rather like the girl in your story. I could blame my mum for not introducing a new sibling better, but mums can be barely grown up children too, however old they might be. My sister and I don't as yet have a happy ending but I still have hope. This is a sweet and lovely page and I hope it inspires sisterly love where ever it is read.