I used to be jealous of my sister. My parents sadly played the preference game with my sisters and brothers and I was at the bottom of the special child pile. Little did I know it was the best thing they could have done for me.
I have always been the type of person who is sensitive to others feelings. There are times in life when you have to be tough. I have a sister who is a hypochondriac. She has spent her whole life trying to get attention by being ill. I used to be jealous of how my parents always preferred her. She still to this day is my mother's nemesis. She will moan and groan about how she can't walk and she is in pain all the time. Then when she forgets to act you'll see her stride across the room just fine. Another sister and I just  stare flabbergasted by her nerve. When she realizes what she has done suddenly she will fall down.
Her pain pills were costing my parents$500.- a month. Now you can see how that would upset the rest of my other sisters and brothers. There are six of us. And many times I have watched one of the others need help and my parents just ignore it because they are married. So what your husband has lost his job, your bills are piling up. You need some help. Nope, you're on your own cause you are married.


In my life I have tried to learn to take things in stride. But my sister's sickening behavior makes me angry. My mother wants to rent her camp in Vermont. But my sister says no one is staying in her camp. Huh?
How does one child turn out so able to take care of themselves and another not. Well I think it has to do with this. If you coddle your child they will never learn to cope. If you do everything for them how will they ever learn to do for themselves.
I pride myself in the fact that I have fixed my own problems. I wouldn't have minded help at times, but I always managed to muddle through. So my advise to parents out there today is stop!
If you never let them go, they never will. I say push them out into the world and be there to give moral support. That is what we all need.
Though I never got that from my parents I have filled the gaping hole with the love of my good friends.
How does a parent find the balance between the two? Common sense. We all have it, we just need to grasp it and use it.
Be there for your kids, but don't live for them. Or they will never live themselves. My sister is now 55 and will be a lonely, sad, person, as soon as my elderly mom passes. Then what will she do? Don't know.
But I do know that because I had to fight my own battles I have learned to develop the weapons we all need to survive.
And the best thing I can say is, "thanks mom and dad, for not loving me as much as my sister, your love has smothered her drive and now she is stuck in her childhood forever." How does one change that, I don't know. But, I am have something she doesn't have now, and that is very important to me. I have my self respect. I can be proud I have made it this far all on my own! With the help and the love of my friends I make my own happiness.
I pity my sister. She doesn't know what she is missing!!!



  1. Jannine Gallant // May 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM  

    Wow, Mary, wow! I agree. When my daughters moan about how their friends' parents give them this, that, and the other, I tell them they'll apreciate it more if they earn it themselves. It may not endear me to them now, but I hope it will somewhere down the road.

  2. Sue Palmer Fineman // May 22, 2011 at 4:31 PM  

    I totally agree, Mary. My kids used to think I was mean because I made them do chores and work for what they wanted. Slave labor, they called it. Now one's a veterinary oncologist, another is an acupuncturist, and the third, most troublesome child is now a Fortune 500 VP. Mean mom or not, I'm proud of the people my children have become.

  3. Traci Hall // May 22, 2011 at 5:00 PM  

    mary!! You have excellent friends because you are one :) This blog post is right on the money, so far as I can tell. Earning your way, realizing that the world does not owe you a darn thing, is a tough lesson to learn. But a necessary one!

  4. Maeve // May 22, 2011 at 5:17 PM  

    I admire your strength, Mary, and I'm so proud to call you my friend. You're right. Your poor sister doesn't realize what she's missing.

  5. Joan Conning Afman // May 22, 2011 at 5:36 PM  

    Right on, Nary! I see it all the time, too much adoration, attention and money spent on kids without their earning it or giving anything back.
    You can be proud of being a strong, independent person. Joan

  6. Mona Risk // May 22, 2011 at 6:07 PM  

    Hi Mary, I'm so proud of your achievements. You did a lot and you did it on your own, which gave you a good strength of character.

  7. Lynne Marshall // May 22, 2011 at 6:18 PM  

    Hi Mary - Nothing is as satisfying as accomplishing something on your own. I'm glad you are who you are even though getting there was tough.

    Lynne Marshall

  8. Mary Ricksen // May 22, 2011 at 7:20 PM  

    Thank you all so much. My wonderful friends are what make my whole life!
    It is really tough to watch your sister waste her valuable life. What can you do when a person refuses to get help and your 86 yr old mother is still coddling her. She doesn't get it yet!!

  9. Lilly Gayle // May 22, 2011 at 7:24 PM  

    My mother never played favorites, though my younger sister accused her of it often enough. My sister's attitude was: "Love me best or not at all." My mother never loved her best. But when I got cancer, I made the comment that my mother and I had never been closer. And that pissed my sister off. Her exact words were, "I always knew she loved you best." And then she cut us both off, using my words as "proof" she was right and that my mother always loved me best. And when my father didn't "choose" my sister over my mother, she cut him off too.

    Sometimes, no matter how we raise our children, they turn out crazy. So, I guess as parents, we do our best and pray it was enough. As a sibling, I have no advice. I'm still trying to figure out what I did wrong...

  10. Bonnie Vanak // May 22, 2011 at 7:48 PM  

    Mary you have accomplished so much on your own, and achieved the dream of getting published. You should be proud of yourself for what you have done. I'm proud of you! I hope your sister wakes up and smells the coffee before it's too late. I know a story similar to this, and it did not end well.

    You go girl, keep on accomplishing!

  11. Barbara Monajem // May 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM  

    Mary, I am happy to say that my sisters are all lovely, supportive people. :)

  12. Mary Marvella // May 22, 2011 at 9:46 PM  

    Great blog, Mary! I so understand. Often a parent will say that he or she gave to the kid who needed the most. They might say it wasn't about love but about need. The oldest of 3, I always did as much as I could on my own. My brother and sister needed more help an got it. I understood, as much as a kid could. /sometimes I understood too much about what my parents couldn't afford.

  13. Mary Ricksen // May 22, 2011 at 10:40 PM  

    Lilly, you did nothing wrong that was the whole point!
    Thanks Bonnie, you are one amazing person who is a gift to the world.
    People need to just remember that if their child never does anything on their own as they are growing up, they never will do it as grownups. I feel sorry for my sister. She is missing people like all of you!!!

  14. Hywela Lyn // May 23, 2011 at 4:19 AM  

    What a wonderful, inspiring post, Mary. Favouritism is one thing, teaching children independence is another.

    I've always been crazy about horses and always wanted one of my onw. My family was not well off and my father told me to save up for as long as I needed to, and he would help me buy my first horse. It took a long, long, time, but I eventually got my first horse at sixteen. My sister, who was five years younger was given a bike.It was what she wanted, and since bikes are cheaper than horses she wasn't asked to contribute a penny, but that was fine. (I've never had a bike and still can't ride one) We knew we were being treated equally, to me it wasn't really about money, it was about having what I wanted most. Having to save towards a horse myself, gave me a real sense of achievement, so I can empathise with what you say.

    Like you and others say, what you achieve yourself makes you appreciate it all the more.

    It's sad you feel that you missed out on your parents' love - and sad too that your sister is so dependent on your mother. You're right though, you've made up for it by the love of your friends. And the reason you have friends who love you is because you are such a wonderful, caring person yourself. You've achieved everything you have, by your own efforts and I'm so happy and proud to be your friend.

  15. Tamara LeBlanc // May 23, 2011 at 7:31 AM  

    Like Barbara, I have two wonderful sisters who I adore. I don't know what I would do without them.
    I'm sorry for your trials, but glad to see you seem to have over come them.
    Have a nice day:)

  16. Patrice // May 23, 2011 at 7:47 AM  

    Mary, Interesting blog. Your sister is very troubled, preferring to be thought of as an invalid when she has good health. Be careful of what you wish for! You have made your own happiness, something she will never have. Good for you to rise above and achieve your dreams.

  17. Bianca Swan // May 23, 2011 at 10:27 AM  

    What a moving and meaningful post, Mary. I'm an only child, so I don't have these problems, but I do have children and I agree with you. It's hard not to coddle, but a balance is critical--and difficult to reach.

  18. Autumn Jordon // May 23, 2011 at 10:45 AM  

    Good for you, Mary. I admit I help my kids, but I don't think too much. They all pretty much stand on their own. Sometimes it does bother me that they don't need me as much, but I get over it real quick and enjoy the grandkids.

  19. Judy // May 23, 2011 at 1:58 PM  

    Mary, such a sad, insightful, wonderful blog!! I think it's sad when parents favor one child over another - for everyone. But as you say, the favored child isn't always the one who comes out on top. The important thing is that you recognized what was going on and made yourself strong and a good friend to everyone and you are reaping the rewards... Hugs!

  20. Mary Ricksen // May 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM  

    I want to thank you all for the touching and wonderful comments! See what I mean, I have all of you!
    That is more important to me then anything in the world!

  21. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 23, 2011 at 7:39 PM  

    I understand how painful it is to grow up with parents and grandparents who play favorites with the children. I was never the favorite and it still makes me crazy sometimes!

  22. Tami // May 23, 2011 at 7:42 PM  

    Mary - sounds so much like me and my sister. She was a $hit and my mother thought she could do no wrong. I've gotten help from my mother but she makes sure that I never forget I had.

  23. Josie // May 25, 2011 at 9:15 AM  

    Hurray for you, Mary, and your achievements. Thanks for an inspiring blog post.