It’s evident I’m the youngest, isn’t it? A bit self-absorbed, over-imaginative, still wants presents from her parents. But I’m also a bit of an oops baby, a party crasher if you will. There my parents were, living out the American Dream, happily running their own restaurant, raising three children, forming friendships that would last them a lifetime. And then yours truly showed up, rolling to the party during a Friday Night Fish Fry. Of course my parents will tell you I was a surprise, and for my siblings who range 7-13 years older, I was a live doll to
torture play with. Here’s the thing, they started out by including me, they let me play games, use their toys, eat candy, and entertain them with talented impressions of Steve Urkel from Family Matters.
But then, we started playing new kinds of games, games called “Experiments.” We learned what would happen when your teenage sister asks you to close your eyes and hold out your hand. A cascade of clacking noises follow and little hard lumps topple into your hand. It could be candy, you think with anticipation. It’s not. It’s your teenage sister’s collection of baby teeth. That’s right, she dumped her teeth in your hand. “Why do you have these?” you scream, your face contorted in horror. There is no reply, she is laughing too hard.
Gross, but harmless fun, right? Well, that was before my brother got a microscope for christmas. This time when you’re asked to help “experiment” they tell you to hold up your index finger. They proceed to wrap a rubber band around and around and around the tip of your finger. They wait while your finger changes from its healthy, fleshy pink coloring to a purple blue bulging nub. Then, they do the inevitable, they tell you to close your eyes again. You should run, you should know this means trouble, you should call for help, but they’re so much cooler than you are, they can ride bikes and pick out their own clothes, and most important of all, they’re family, they wouldn’t hurt you. “Owwwwww!” Turns out they can hurt you. In fact, your siblings stabbed you. They wanted to know what blood looked like under the microscope.
This is why I played alone. And why my favorite game was called Orphan. And it’s another example of why I’m convinced I have multiple lives. But the truth is, I love my siblings. I love them for helping make me a stubborn, and overly imaginative child. If I’d have had a harmonious childhood, I’d have had nothing to write about. And really, what’s a little blood in the name of sibling?
How about you readers? Were you the mad scientist in the household, or the Frankenstein freak being tested on? I’m thinking about starting a club someday, TITHAFYS, Teeth in the Hand Alliance For Youngest Siblings, I’ll be needing a strong leadership team, put your nominations in for VP, treasurer, and secretary. Happy writing!
Resolutions for the week include:
- Read more Susan Shapiro, Only as Good as Your Word – in progress
- Read each day for pleasure for one hour – Finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, wonderful!!! Currently reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- Write 3 family memoirs, be brave, post them on your blog – here goes, family memoir #1
Little Sister of Nine Lives
I actually have a hard time remembering my childhood. It wasn’t full of sorrow, it wasn’t maniacally evil, it obviously wasn’t too exciting, either. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I simply don’t remember as far back as most people claim to. If I had to give you a reason for this, I’d call it Self Preservation from my Deranged Family.
You see, my sister will claim to many days of glad tidings and jolly moments where she took me bike riding with our Cabbage Patch Dolls, playing in the park that was across the street from our house. My brother would sneak candy to me and terrorize the neighbor’s lawns on his bicycle with me squished onto the front seat with him. I recall none of this ever occurring. What I recall is being buried alive or left for dead several times over.
To begin, there is photographic evidence of me as a toddler being buried in our sandbox. My face is red, my jaw open screaming, there are tears on my face. My brother crouches over me with a shovel, and waves to one of my parents who undoubtedly stopped what they were doing to collect this fine, familial moment. I don’t know how I escaped, I’ve clearly recessed this memory.
Example number two. My mother, upon driving home from one of her weekly hair appointments, discovers at the corner stop sign, one of her children, the youngest, tied to the pole with a jump rope, crying. Seemingly left for abandon on one of the busiest streets in town for all to ridicule her pain. Notice no one stopped driving to call for help.
Example number three. My father is supposed to be watching me one winter when I was in elementary school. It was late at night, he was shoveling snow. I thought it was a game at first. He began to put shovel full after shovel full of snow on top of me who was playing in the snow bank. Pretty soon, that snow pile got really heavy. Pretty soon after that, I couldn’t move from underneath it. I called to my father for help, who found said predicament extremely funny. He grew up in a sink or swim household and told me to figure a way out myself. Then he went inside, leaving me trapped in a snowbank under a streetlight. Crying in the dead of winter, I eventually managed to squirm like an earthworm until I was uncovered enough to crawl out.
That about brings us up to speed, and would put me at my fourth life if we’re keeping track. If I were going to give you any sort of moral to the story or insight from my perspective, it would be this: don’t let your children babysit your children. And apparantly, don’t leave them with their father either, at least in winter weather conditions. So for all you youngest children, little sisters and brothers everywhere, good night and good luck! And if it helps, I did sleep with a pocket knife under my pillow for awhile, just in case.