What does an apple, a pear, a peach and a plum have do to with four sisters?
I’m sure there are some who prefer their fruit salad with only one particular fruit, say apples…or peaches. I on the other hand love a fruit salad made up of all different kinds of fruit. That way sometime you get a bite of something sweet, sometimes crunchy, sometimes a bit of sour. It makes for a more interesting dish.
My girls are kind of like that. They keep life interesting with their different personalities and tastes. My daughters’ ages range from 34 to 22. They are alike in some ways, but totally different in others and have been from the time they were born. Having three sisters myself (and three brothers) I grew up knowing how different siblings can be, so I guess it wasn’t a total surprise to have four daughters which such wide-ranging personalities.
My oldest, Ashley, has from Day One been the most stubborn of the group and one who always has to learn lessons the hard way and doesn’t like to be told what to do (even if it is something she wants to do…somehow having someone tell her to do it ticks her off). I remember when she was a toddler I told her ‘no’ when she reached for a television knob or something like that. She understood the word she just didn’t like it. She looked at me and then reached for it again. This time I said no with a slight slap on the back of her hand. She looked at me and then did it again, and again, and again. It became a battle of the wills. Each time I’d slap a little bit harder and repeat ‘no’. I envisioned her at sixteen with the same battle so I kept at it. The back of her hand was red, but that child would not quit reaching for it. I’m not even sure how it ended, but that was how it was with Ashley. We learned giving her options to choose from was the best way to guide her along. Ashley was also the most competitive of the group. She still plays soccer, enjoying the competition.
Audrey, our youngest, on the other hand, is very soft-hearted and sensitive. Unlike her oldest sister we could pretty much give Audrey a stern look, or say her name in a stern way and she’d be crushed. The two responded so differently to criticism, rules, you name it and we had to adjust accordingly. While the most sensitive of the group in many ways, as a child Audrey was the most rambunctious of the girls. She and Ashley were the social butterflies of the family always wanting to be with friends.
Alayna, our second, unlike Ashley and Audrey, liked quiet time to recharge her batteries. She had friends, but she could only take groups for a certain period of time before needing to go off on her own. We determined over time that she took on people’s energies in some ways and this was exhausting for her. She is very intuitive and empathic in that way and it took her years to deal with it. It was also fascinating to us that she found change of any kind hard to deal with. I’d move a chair and it would take her a few days to adjust. This proved to be a challenge when we moved quite a bit forcing her to change utterly everything in her life. While Ashley was very competitive in sports, Alayna hated to be put into competition with others. She was very good in gymnastics, and soccer and even piano, but when they pitted the kids against one another she hated it. She liked to do things for the sake of doing them and not to be better than someone else.
Adriana, our third was the quietest of the four. She was terribly shy when she was little. If someone talked to her she’d stop walking and look down. She apparently had the philosophy if I don’t see you then you’re not there. We were relieved when she grew out of it in elementary school and became more social. Of the four Adriana found it easiest to excel in the academic arena.
While there were many other differences that will give you a flavor of the Messer fruit salad. I took their differences and weaved it into my first series; Patrick’s Garden. The series is about a family with four sisters that are very different from each other in many ways. Taking a bit from each of my daughters and each of my sisters and myself I came up with a family that was fun to write about and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about them. Each book gives you a chance to know each of the MacRae sisters a little bit better. No one daughter is exactly like a character in the book but each of them did tend to relate to one of the four sisters more than another.