To Be a Younger Sibling
My younger sister had to be scrappy. In our loud family, she could have either gotten lost or fought hard as the baby of four girls to be heard, which is what she did.
Once when she was about five-years-old we were returning home from somewhere, all six of us packed in the station wagon. She suddenly blurted out, “I threw a rock through that window over there,” and pointed to an unfamiliar neighbor’s house down the street.
“What?!” my Dad asked, incredulous his little daughter would say something so nonchalantly, let alone do such a thing. The car came to a screeching halt and then my Dad marched up the front steps of the now identified window victim’s home and rapped on the door while my sister, who still seemed unfazed, stood stoically by his side.
“Yes?” a man asked from behind a partial opening.
“My daughter here, uh, says she threw a rock through (that) window, recently,” he said and pointed.
I could only see their body language from the car and later piece together the information my Dad gave us, but next thing you know, the two of them come walking, then hunching down to inspect the obviously still pristine, nowhere cracked, window.
Dad came back to the car red-faced, even more flustered than before.
“I made it up!” my sister confessed. “I wanted to have good stories to tell around the house, too!” she cried.
I’ve been thinking about that story lately, as I, too, now have four children and can see similar dynamics beginning to play in my own household.
Our youngest, a four-year-old girl, tries to one-up everyone. “Milk comes out ofcows’ eyes!” she shares as the others hunker down to do homework.
She declares at the dinner table, “I know of a place where if you don’t wear blueon St. Patrick’s Day you get kissed!”
When she’s one-to-one with any of us she lets her guard down, but when in groups she’s on high alert. She will pick more fights with her oldest brother than with the two siblings closer to her own age. While the other kids clamor to pick up their things before I make my threatened pass with the Goodwill bag of donations, she waits to see if I’m bluffing. Natalie also wants to know why she can’t have as many play dates, sleepovers, or even as much food as her fifth grade brother.
Indeed my youngest has a resilient, fighter trait now just like my little sister did when we were kids. And with all that time to think and absorb so many characters, they are also two of the most imaginative people I know.
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