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You Were Always Mom’s Favorite

Deborah Tannen interviewed more than a hundred women for her book You Were Always Mom’s Favorite.

The subtitle is “Sisters in Conversation throughout Their Lives.”

It has been some time since I read about the Delaney sisters and Tannen references these ladies in the preface of her book:

“No one is closer than a sister who shares your family, your past, your memories.  That connection is always there, whether you live together your whole lives, as the Delanys did, or see each other rarely or not at all–even if one has passed away.  And sisters are also immutably arrayed by age, with resulting differences in influence and power that also endure, in obvious or subtle ways, throughout their lives.  Those two dynamics, power and connection, work together and can’t be pulled apart: The Delany sisters’ lifelong devotion was inseparable from the fact that one was younger and the other older–and therefore protective, and maybe a tad judgmental.”

I am several years older than my sister and perhaps that is why we didn’t have any of the problems that I’ve read about in Tannen’s book.  Also, my sister and I both know that our brother was everyone’s favorite!

I enjoy my sister and I appreciate her.  I love her and cannot imagine a life without her.  [And, as I wrote above – our brother was our mom’s favorite – our dad’s favorite – and we absolutely adored/adore him!]

This is an interesting book even though I couldn’t relate to the segments about competition and/or anger.  For some reason (again – perhaps because of the large age difference), I’ve not experienced that with my sister.

Excerpt from the book:

I read accounts of dire circumstances where sisters literally kept each other alive by their mutual presence.  A Dutch woman who was with Anne Frank and her sister Margot in a concentration camp provides two examples, her own and Ann Frank’s, with starkly different endings.  Janny Brandes-Brilleslijper became gravely ill with typhus, but she survived because she kept herself going in order to keep her sister, who was even sicker, alive.  “Anne was sick, too,” she recalls, “but she stayed on her feet until Margot died; only then did she give in to her illness.”

. . . Few of us confront circumstances this desperate, but I heard many moving accounts of sisters coming through in times of crisis.  Joy, for example, drew courage from her sisters’ presence when she underwent emergency surgery to save her life.  It happened suddenly: One moment she was walking down the street, the next thing she knew she was regaining consciousness in a hospital bed.  “When I woke up,” Joy recalls, “my three sisters were standing there, side by side, like linebackers.”

. . . In Bible [stories] and the folk song [by Peggy Seeger about “Two Sisters”] — and in many other tales from legend and popular culture–the preferred sister is not only prettier but also younger.

{Now, as the Older sister  – ‘younger, prettier sister’  rings a bell!  . . . but I repeat: our brother was definitely the preferred one . . . perhaps because he was so dadgum good and sweet . . . and he still is . . .}


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

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