With each gentle splash of water that hit the ferry's white, rusted sides, we drifted further and further away from Balboa Island. I looked from my affectionate, younger, 8 year old brother to my tender hearted mother who softly smiled at me. I then glanced at my younger, 7 year old cousin who was with us, because my parents wanted to give her a week to remember. She looked out at the blue Pacific and started to cry. Moving to comfort her, my dad embraced her in a hug and told her it would be okay. Everything would work out; she could see her mom in just a few days. Plus, we could call her tonight!
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Anger started to build up in me as my dad comforted her with his softer, gentler side. I wanted to be the one in his arms. How couldn't he understand that she wasn't "precious and cute?" She was stealing him and my mom away from me. I looked back at the week remembering all the times when I wanted their attention, and she was right there; absorbing it all, telling jokes and laughing. The anger kept building up, and soon I couldn't take it.
"Oh, grow up! You can see your "Mommy" on Sunday when we leave!" I huffed at her. Not used to being hollered at, she was shocked and started to cry more. We then exited the ferry and headed straight to the car, my parents watching me with a look on their face I couldn't read. I knew they were disappointed with my attitude towards her, but I was sick of everyone worrying about how she felt! Didn't I matter too?
During the long, silent ride back to the Marriott's Newport Coast Villas, where we were staying, I watched her tiny, fragile body shake with sadness and fear. I suddenly felt bad for her. Hardly ever talking to her dad that left her, rarely seeing her mom, practically living with our grandparents, always being surrounded by the annoying, pesky boy cousins, and whenever she was around me, being put down.
I thought back to the beginning of the week when the rude side comments started. On the 7 hour ride up I had completely ignored her. Then at the villa, the only things I said to her were filled with hatred and anger. Kayaking and whale watching, I wasn't any nicer. And I certainly didn't hesitate to swim away from her when we sat poolside and tried to enjoy the day. I turned back to her and suddenly felt guilt surge through my veins. I was a horrible person. Being that I am 5 years older than her, she looks up to me. From that moment on, I decided that I was going to change my feelings towards her and be the big sister she never had. I would help her and listen to her problems.
Even though I was initially rude and pushed her away, we grew really close that 2010 summer trip. Now we laugh together and goof around. I try to be that person she can turn to and trust in any situation. Even though that week was filled with mixed emotions, anger and fighting, I wouldn't change a thing. I think our relationship is the perfect example of the saying "beautiful pictures develop from negatives in a dark room."
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.