My reign of being an only child ended abruptly at the age of five. Initially I was excited at the thought of a new brother or sister. After all, my twin cousins had each other and an older brother. In my mind, they always had someone to play with. I always had fun when I played with them and the expression of sibling rivalry was but a glimmer in my unsuspecting eyes as I bounced down the stairs at my cousin’s house in search of a snack.

As I was headed down the stairs, my aunt was climbing up them. When we both reached the landing she looked at me and said, “Enjoy being the center of attention now. Once your brother or sister is born you will no longer be the baby and things are going to change.” Perhaps those words were meant to prepare me, but, to my 4-½ year old mind, it planted a seed of doubt. This was the day I began to resent the upcoming addition to our family. Being a precocious and curious child, I began sneaking out of bed and sitting in the dark near my doorway each night whenever my mom and her friends would get together. One night I remember overhearing my mom talking about my birth. She started by saying that she hoped the new baby would be a boy. She then shared that when I was born and they brought me in, my father’s face dropped at first when he saw I was a girl but then he recovered and said that he was just happy I was healthy.

If I had the perspective I do now, I would have realized that the words that were being spoken were being spoken solely from the perspective and filters of the person speaking them. Those words were coming from the space of their wounds. Unfortunately to my young mind, these words haunted me and by the time my baby brother was born I had already decided not to like him.

I often wonder what the dynamics of our relationship would have been like if those memories hadn’t been created. Sure, sibling rivalry would have most likely been present. But, would I have been kinder or more loving? Instead, I was a tyrant to my younger brother. I was bossy, controlling and manipulative. Childhood for us was fraught with emotion. Along with constantly being told “I should know better” because I was older, at times I was a caretaker for both of us as my parents divorced and my mom was mentally fragile.

In my limited view of the world at the age of ten, and the anger for the responsibilities I was given, I admit that I did not treat my brother well. Don’t get me wrong, we did have some good moments and if anyone else tried to pick on one of us, the other would leap to our defense. But, it did add fuel to teasing and taunting him. Funny, as I reflect back I realize that my taunting started in full force when he was five, the same age I had been when I had been made aware of his arrival.

Perhaps some of the things that I did could be considered normal childhood pranks. For instance, the time I put saran wrap in my mouth chewed it and slowly pulled it out while telling my brother that it was spider webs. Or maybe the time my best friend and me “doctored” his lunch by putting almost a whole salt shaker in his bowl of soup and then offering him a big glass of apple cider vinegar while telling him it was iced tea. At the time I thought that these pranks were hilarious but what memories did they create in him?

I do know that there is one particular incident that created a memory that causes such a strong reaction that it has led to several arguments between us over the years. Being the oldest child, I guess I considered myself queen of the roost and each day after school I would rush home to watch my favorite soap opera. My brother would walk in the door ready for his afternoon fix of cartoons. At the time we had two television sets, one color and one black & white. Because I got home first, I usually laid claim to the color TV. One day, the color TV wasn’t working. So, I went to the room where my brother sat watching his cartoons. I convinced him that he deserved to watch his cartoons on the color TV and I would watch my soap opera on the black & white. As soon as he left the room, I shut the door and locked it and sat down to enjoy my show. To some this might be a harmless example of teasing. Not to my brother. This memory so upset him that even today whenever issues around the television or a show that we are watching together comes up, it sends him back to that moment of being tricked and bullied by me.

Sometimes my heart hurts from guilt when I think of how I treated him. I wonder how my treatment of him during that time created memories and limiting beliefs that he carries with him today. All I can do is work on myself to consciously transform the limiting beliefs that I grew up with. Our childhood created the opportunity for me to work with a belief that has traveled with me through my life, the belief that I would always be second best. It’s funny how a few random memories can follow you throughout your life.

Today, my brother and I are friends. Our turning point came when I moved out and went to college. I no longer had to be around what in my mind was “the favorite child”. I chose to be around him and I got to know him as a person.

Although we are polar opposites in many respects, he is an engineer and I am a Tarot reader and life coach, I love him dearly. He is married to an amazing woman and has two children who I live to spoil. The fact that his son is the spitting image of him and that I am now able to love completely has helped to heal me. As I spend time with my niece, the baby, I am charmed and reminded of the way that my brother acted when we were growing up. Through them I have been given a second chance to love the children we were.

All I can do now is actively create loving memories with him and take deep breaths when I want to fall back into the old role of being a bossy and controlling older sister. As you are reading this, know that this month I am enjoying a family vacation with my brother, Michelle, Justin and Betsy. Keith invited me to join them and at this moment we may even be riding a rollercoaster. I am grateful for the times that we have together now. In fact, part of the reason I moved to North Carolina a few years ago was to be closer to him.

As I finish this article, I hope that my brother can forgive me for who I was when we were kids and see me for who I am today. I hope that I can be a big sister that he is proud of. And, if I had one wish it would be that all adults, myself included, would have more awareness of the memories and beliefs that our words and actions have on the little ones of this planet and each other.

Author's Bio: 

Lorri Gifford has been reading Tarot Cards since 1986. While living in California, she worked at The Chopra Center for Well-being as their Spa Director and a Lead Educator. In 2009 her intuition guided her to move to Asheville. Lorri enjoys writing, giving readings, coaching and helping others develop and deepen their intuition. She can be reached at or 828.505.4485.