Monday, April 30, 2012

A letter to my sister on her 40th Birthday

Dear Theresa Green

Firstly, how did this happen, when did we grow up?

Being my older sister, my very first memories are of you. Of Holly Hobby wallpaper and you sleeping in the green bunk above my bed, the one that Dad made.

I have a few things to thank you for, and others to apologise for. 

I am sorry that I wasted all of your Little Blossom makeup in one go, and that you got the blame for it.

I need to thank you for carrying my school bag home up that massive hill in Geelong. Considering you were ten, carrying three school bags up a huge hill was quite an effort.

Thank you for introducing me to Boy George, it was the start of my dancing career, the one that's still to really kick off.

I am sorry for singing the same song, "I am a laughing Gnome and you can't catch me" over and over. 

I am sorry that I had to have the light on for so long when we shared a room when all you wanted was to sleep.

Because I thought you were so cool I pretended for a while that I too loved horses. We all know how that turned out, after two years of Saturday lessons I was still petrified of horses and riding in a double saddle so I didn't fall off. Finally, when we moved and you got your own horse, I never had to ride again. 

Thank you for giving me your ID even when you really didn't want to.

Thank you for not calling Mum and Dad when you caught me on top of a large wire fence trying to sneak into a Ballarat nightclub to see Boom Crash Opera play. 

Sorry that I had also knicked your brand new country road pants, ripped the tags off and teamed them with a new top I liked in your wardrobe. Remember what happened? I fell off the fence and ripped those pants to shreds.  And you, what did you do? You stuck within 2m of me all night making sure I didn't get in any trouble, especially when I dragged you backstage.

I still owe you for the pants. (Plus those other ones that got the battery acid spilt on them... the similar story...but you know, learnt my lesson that time).

And sorry that I dropped your full bottle of Eternity perfume all over the bathroom floor and smashed the bottle, at least the bathroom smelt nice for a few days.

You managed to be there for me through all those stupid times when boys dumped me, I was such a basket case. It was you who kept reminding me that only by meeting new people would I find the person right for me. You were right.

There was a time I thought it was a problem that you were not very confident. Let's face it, you are not always too confident. Back then I thought this was a weakness in you, something that I wished we could change, to make you more confident in yourself, to just hear you say something, anything that you were good at. But I was wrong, I thought confident meant brave and strong. 

It doesn't.

Because no one is as brave and strong as you.

Dropping everything, leaving your job, your house, your friends, and even your car and taking a chance on the other side of the country - that was brave. Going to the outback of WA to nanny for a family living god knows where. You slept outside and had to light a fire for your hot water. There was no electricity. That was strong. They were so happy to have you, and you loved those kids a lot, 15 years later, you still have contact with them.

I have done things in my life that others won't, but only because of you.
Who else drives across the Nullabor in a Mazda 121, a two-door car, in summer, without air conditioning, in a manual, with only three tapes, no radio other than Indigenous FM? The eagles eating the road kill nearly picked up the car, the road trains swept us along the road so much we had to spit out the dust for the next km. It was amazing. Best 5 days ever.

When I had to hold my baby down for blood tests and I was petrified, I texted you, saying I couldn't do it, you didn't send me nice fluffy messages saying it will be ok, you called and said, get over it, your baby needs you, grow up and deal with yourself later. 

I did. But only just, cos I am not strong like you.

There was only one name I could give your house when I visited to see you and your little family before I had my own.

Rancho Relaxo.

I arrived. I played with babies, fed them, cuddled them and soaked them up. It was bliss.

The night Lochie was born and the nurses wouldn't tell me if you were in hospital or not, I told them I would send an ambulance to your house to ensure you were ok. I was terrified of you being in labour, it scared me. They folded and told me you were there and I stressed for 9 hours til I got your call. 

I had nothing to worry about. Four babies. Drug-Free. Brave, Strong.

My visit to Rancho Relaxo on April 22 would change all our lives. 

To be honest, there have been days and weeks I wasn't sure how we could all keep going. But at the bottom of those thoughts were, that if you could be so strong, and keep breathing, even if it was just one breath at a time, then everyone else had too to.

If you could stand at a gravesite with your two-year-old son and two-week old daughter in your arms and bury your three year old son, and keep breathing, well, then I could be strong too. I just had to learn how, from you.

We are very different, the city life is the one I have chosen and the harshness of country life is not for me. Sometimes I wonder why anyone lives out there, but last week I sat in a country pub, watched you, surrounded by country women, women of strength, value, courage and quite a bit of humour!  The kind of women that cook lasagna for a neighbour when they think it's needed, and I saw what you have. You have a community that loves you and that is worth more than anything the city can ever offer, and with them, you can always be yourself, there is no need to be confident, you just have to be yourself, they already have your back. They will catch you if you ever need catching. I get it.

So now, today on your 40th birthday, thank you for being my sister. For being someone who can be strong and brave and whip up a batch of biscuits while popping the cork on a bottle of bubbles when another woman needs someone to lean on. 

I am more than proud to say you are mine.


  1. Absolute beautiful Claire. This is so Tracey and we are all so proud of her.

  2. What a beautiful letter Claire. Happy Birthday amazing Tracey.

    PS Thanks for letting me and Clairey tag along into Troppers with you for our first venture into a nightclub. Despite being underage and I am sure very, very daggy (red jeans were in then, I'm sure of it!) you let us tag along anyway :)

    1. Hey KB, red jeans are in NOW, you were so ahead of your time!

  3. thank you to my lovely sister!!

  4. I am all welled up. I just love sisters. Yours sounds amazing Clairey. I just cannot even imagine how she gets on with it. Happy Birthday x

  5. This is beautiful! There is no bond like the bond between sisters... You made me want to call my sister and say I love you x

  6. This was pure loveliness.

    Makes me wish I had a sister all the more.


  7. still waiting for the counrty road pants !! Yes Kerrie the old Troopers!!!

  8. I am all teary too ~ what an amazing and beautiful letter Claire.
    Happy Birthday to you rock solid sister Tracey... did you post it snail mail too.

  9. Wow. Just wow. That was so beautiful and I am proud of your sister for you and I'm proud of you. Makes me miss my own sister, who I haven't spoken to for six years. She's turning 35 at the end of this month.

  10. Made me cry too. I also have to thank Tracy for introducing me to "Sweet Caroline" sung loudly and badly by a bunch of drunk 18 year olds at the Eureka Hotel, and I'm pretty sure it was she that forced you and I to ask the bar manager for jobs Claire! Thank you Tracey.

  11. oh my goodness, this made me weep. You are so very fortunate to have each other. How I wish I had a sister. I would love someone close like this xo

  12. Bawling my eyes out Claire. I love these glimpses into your family and your beautiful sister is as amazing as you. I always wished I had a sister and what you say about your sister and the lovely relationship developing between your girls makes me wish for it even more. Happy Birthday to your sister. Xxx

  13. What a lovely glimpse into your family, and happy birthday to your sister.

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  15. That was so beautiful, Clairey. Funny and kind and strong and honest and so unbelievably sad I thought I couldn't quite read it. Your sister is a lucky woman to have a sister in return. x

  16. Wow.

    What a brilliant letter. Well done, Claire. I was introduced to your wonderful blog by your lovely mum and have loved having a look around here. It's a clever and fun place to be.

    Tracey, I will never forget the card you sent (it was the first to arrive) when we lost our baby at 18 weeks. Thank you for that - you are an inspiring tower of strength and bravery. Happy birthday!

    I am in the middle of composing a blog entry about sisters - I don't have one but love that my two daughters do. You've inspired me to finish it - thanks for sharing an amazing part of your special relationship.

    Next time I am trying to administer medicine to a toddler, I won't add to their tears with my own and will remember to grow up and get over myself. Thanks for that.

  17. Oh my goodness, what a woman. Snap, i have a sister who was 40 in April too, my big sister who i could have inserted her name, her clothes, her music & all the things i ruined (only she was a prima ballerina, so trust that i knew what i had done wrong, do did Muuuuummmmm!!) & she lives in the country too. Crushing to hear she lost a child, that is the single worst experience anyone should have to experience, no matter how strong & capable.
    What a formidable pair you are, plus other siblings i gather, wow, amazing, happy birthday to her, love Posie

  18. What beautiful words. I think I might call my sister and tell her how much I love her! x

  19. Awww this is simply sweet and thoughtful.
    This is such a heartwarming birthday wishes for sister.
    Your elder sister would surely feel loved by this.
    Thumbs up!

  20. Claire this is beautiful, brought tears to my eyes! I am lucky enough to have a sister, she is younger but sometimes older and braver than me too. What a special bond it is. x


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