As the younger sister by five years, I wanted to walk in her shoes. Literally. When I was in third grade, I was particularly fond of her black winter boots with the fake fur at mid-calf. They were about as close to the popular ‘go-go boots’ style as I ever hoped to get.
Mom was still insisting that I wear little red rubber boots that fit over my shoes, despite my protests that no other girls in my grade still wore those ‘baby’ boots. Sis’s boots were getting a little tight on her feet and I wanted them — badly.
When Sis finally had enough of the tight boots, Mom reluctantly turned them over to me, even though they were still way too big for my feet. Nevertheless, I proudly clomped off to school in them, feeling quite the fashion plate.
Unfortunately, my sister and I have spent all our adult lives separated by geography. On a recent visit, she informed me that she had some never-worn shoes that didn’t fit quite right and I was welcome to have them.
Like Cinderella after the ball, the shoes were a perfect fit and I claimed them as my own. It had been decades since I received hand-me-downs, but I was thrilled. It felt like third grade all over again.
The five years that separate us no longer matter, but the geography certainly does. We never got a chance to spend long periods of quality time together as adults. As the younger sister, I don’t know if I’ve had any kind of positive effect on her. The bonds we share are largely the bonds of childhood, with precious few adulthood memories of the sisterly sort. That childhood affection from my big sis is with me still; no study necessary.