Sibling rivalry

With both a college and high school graduate this spring, I was basking in the reflected glory until sibling rivalry reared its ugly head.
All my children were home for the weekend. One had a birthday, another chatted about his exciting job prospects, a third was competing in a statewide competition. By Saturday noon, we knew that the competitor was a finalist.
After his presentation, we headed for a late lunch. As we entered the restaurant, whispers of “Yeah, but I was …” swirled around me as the sibling watchers reminded the competitor of their past accomplishments.
Between their declarations of personal greatness, the waitress set buckets of peanuts on the tables and said, “toss the shells on the floor.” I cracked nuts, tossed shells to the floor and listened, astounded as they vied to prove themselves the best, the most outstanding and most worthy of all.
The star of the day smiled confidently: He knew he had the spotlight of the day. He basked in the glory of doing something they had never done, of receiving honors and recognition the others had not.
I tried to underscore each one’s uniqueness. That each had received honors others hadn’t and had had their day. I could have saved my breath. Before the weekend was over I heard, “How come no one ever says anything about his driving? He took that corner as much off center as I ever did.”
“How come you do that for him, but never for me?”
The only thing the even momentarily halted the onslaught of jealousy was the evening I did my old-timer’s story that began, “Well when I was growing up …”
The dairy association sponsored a poster contest for the grade school students. Winning posters would be displayed during the county fair that year. I decided to enter. I had never entered a poster contest before, let alone seen one. So I looked around and copied another kid’s idea to make sure I did it right.
A couple days before the deadline, my little sister also decided to enter. She whipped out a unique idea with a catchy picture.
I never saw my poster again, but her sported a large grand prize ribbon on the wall at the county fair.
When I was in high school, the electric company announced an essay contest for a trip to Washington, D.C. For weeks, I studied the rules and the literature the electric company provided. I researched the history of the electrical company. I wrote, re-wrote and rewrote my essay.
A couple days before the entries had to be in, little sister decided she would enter. She scanned their literature, reformatted the information and tossed her second copy into the mail.
I took no pleasure in the picture of her with the vice-president in the Oval Office.
When I finished, the jealous one sighed quietly, “I guess you do understand.”
Yes, I do, but I prefer writing letters to my sister about my prize-winning children any day over admitting anything about their petty jealousies and sibling rivalry.