I was the oldest girl in my family, and my oldest child is my only daughter. Her oldest is also a girl, and I have a son whose oldest is a daughter too. We have lots of big sisters in our family.
I would not have paid much attention to any of this, except that I was writing a letter to my granddaughter Abby, to congratulate her on the birth of her baby brother, and it reminded me of my baby sister, who was born when I was nine years old.
She was “Baby Norma” to everyone in our family, long after she towered over us, a long-legged, broad shouldered competitive swimmer who played in an auditioned youth symphony. I tend to express my feelings in pictures, so I drew some pictures of my happy memories taking care of Baby Norma as her big sister. It was my job to bathe her and put her to bed every night. I loved rocking her to sleep, singing the songs our mother had taught us.
That reminded me of my daughter Sharon as a little girl. She was also nine years old when her youngest baby brother was born, and no little kid ever had a more devoted big sister. I drew a picture of Sharon bringing treats home to her brothers; something she never failed to do if she had a special outing with friends.
Sharon's daughter Lauren inherited her mom’s gift for nurturance. Lauren spent countless hours lugging her baby brother around on her hip whenever he needed comfort.
I drew this too, called the collection “Famous Big Sisters in My Family,” and popped it in the mail.
My college buddy, Terri Thayer, who had been my roommate when I was studying art, grabbed me figuratively by the lapels (I was wearing a tee shirt, so you know this is metaphorical) and told me all little girls should have this coloring book when a new baby is born or adopted into their families.
That was the genesis of Big Sister. I hope the drawings will help little girls imagine the special bond that will bless them and their families for the rest of their lives.