Sisterly Edition of Birthday Countdown

I hope you liked my first post about the countdown to my birthday!  Before we continue the list, I quick story.  My sister called me after reading yesterday’s post and said,

“I just read your blog post.  All this time I thought you were turning 30.”

I wish I could say my response was cool and casual.  Something like, “No 29.  Gosh, you’re silly.”  This was not the case.  I felt like she had slapped me across the face.  How could she forget!  How could she age me an extra year!?!

After I wiped the foam from my mouth, I thought about my reaction.  I was a little surprised at myself.  If this were three years ago, I don’t think I would be upset if she thought I was turning 26 instead of 25. I like to think I have a handle on this whole getting older thing.  I tell myself ‘our culture is too obsessed with youth’ and ‘age is just a number’ and other mantras to ease my transition into ALMOST 30.  Clearly, this ride could still get bumpy.

This next part of my list is dedicated to my sisters.

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day Three: lessons from sisterhood

3. You are the oldest – it’s always your fault.

I’m the oldest of three girls. Being the oldest is pretty tough job mostly because your parents have no clue what they are doing. You are the guinea pig child, and it’s about time you got used to it.  If you’re lucky, your parents will create younger humans who share your genes and will understand the uniqueness of your childhood experiences.  Sisters (and brothers) can be the best.

BUT, if you are the oldest sibling, it is important to know that everything will be your fault*.  Growing up, every tear or scream from your little sisters is assumed to be the result of some cruel torture you have inflicted.  Guilty until proven otherwise.  Even if circumstances prove that you are not to blame for the most recent meltdown, you are still expected to make concessions.  They are younger than you after all! Plus, my baby sister had dimples and really knew how to turn on the water works.  Don’t think for one second that she didn’t abuse this superpower. This will result in countless (and seemingly unjustified) occasions of playing ‘baby’ games, giving up toys, changing the channel, or being sent to your room.

Even once all the siblings are grown, there are times when you have to step up and be a scapegoat.  ‘She’s in a mood – don’t provoke her!’ or ‘She’s sensitive about (insert the issue of the month), why did you bring it up?’  I’m sure it probably goes the other way around, but this is my list so back off!

4. Even if it sounds like fun, it might not be a good idea.

Although learned in childhood, this is a lesson that stands the test of time. One evening, my little sister (approximately 4 years old at the time) created an excellent game. It essentially consisted of spinning around until you were sickeningly dizzy. (There was a second phase of the game that involved jumping on pillows in a certain pattern, but that isn’t relevant to the story.)  While taking a break from the game, my little sister was spinning ’round and ’round (as per the rules of the game) when she fell and hit her head on the coffee table.  She stood up and I spied blood POURING down her face directly between her eyes.  I managed to walk her into the next room (very calmly for my young 7 years) where my parents were watching t.v.  Panic ensued as did a trip to the emergency room. I was yelled at because, of course, this was all my fault.  (See #3) In hindsight, spinning around until you cannot stand was probably not the safest form of recreational activity.

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Except she wasn’t smiling, and her face was bloody.

This lesson can also be applied to:

  • Sledding down a giant hill directly towards a parked car
  • Staying out until 3 a.m. the morning before a final exam
  • Diving into a pool with a glass bottle of beer in my hand
  • Kissing guys who aren’t *technically* single
  • Removing items of clothing in a frat house

5. Sisters know you the best and can hurt you the worst.

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Sisters!!

Your sisters can be the most wonderful people on the planet.  Your sisters will have the ability to drive you completely insane.  Your sisters have probably seen you at your worst but will celebrate with you at your best. They know your insecurities just like you know theirs; please use this information for good and not evil.

You don’t have to be the same people, so don’t bother trying to change them into your clones. Enjoy them when you can because they probably won’t live down the street forever.  Remember you all come from the same place, so they are the only ones who know exactly how crazy your parents truly are.

 

*Ok, the times when I would pin you down and threaten to spit on you…that was mean.  I definitely deserved punishment for that because that was really gross.  Thanks for loving me despite it.

 

Can I just hibernate through my birthday?

hi·ber·nate
1.to spend the winter in close quarters in a dormant condition, as bears and certain otheranimals. 
2. to withdraw or be in seclusion; retire.
hibernate

Wake up! Winter’s over!

I’m back.  I didn’t really go anywhere except my apartment and occasionally Wendy’s, but there was definitely a lack of activity on the interwebs.  Sorry that I went into hibernation for a few months.  Did you miss me?  It was a rough winter, and not just for Mississippi girls like me.  Everyone in Chicago was pretty miserable for a while.  But now the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, so I figured I should reemerge.  And just in time, because in 29 days I will be turning 29.  Twenty-nine years old!!!

 

Logically, I know this isn’t a big deal, it doesn’t really mean anything, blah blah.  But the other parts of me (the non-logical ones) may or may not be freaking out.  To keep myself from having a complete existential crisis, I need a distraction.  Today’s distraction method of choice will be making a list.  Without further ado, I present:

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day One: Lessons learned in childhood

1.  Do not cut your own bangs.  It will not end well.

…especially if you are 10 years old.  Fifth grade is definitely old enough to know what scissors can do to your hair, but did that stop me?  No, sir!  It starts out innocently enough: just the tiniest trim.  But then you have to make sure the sides are even, and before you know it your bangs are inch long sprigs standing straight up with no hope of ever covering your forehead.  Oh yeah, and it’s right before picture day.  Luckily, your sister is 5 years old so you can blame her for this unfortunate mishap.  (Did people actually believe that story?)

You would think after ‘the 5th grade bangs incident’ I would learn my lesson.  Wrong again!  There were a handful of times in high school and college where I would trim my bangs myself.  The results weren’t quite as traumatic, but of course never as good as what someone in a salon could do.  (P.S. It’s pretty embarrassing when you tell your hairstylist that you trimmed your own bangs and her response is “I can see that”.)

 2. Just ask where the bathroom is – it’s less embarrassing than the alternative.

I was a shy kid – painfully shy.  I spoke to teachers in school as little as possible.  When I was in the first or second grade, I spent almost every single recess playing with my friend, Ashley.  Ashley was an idea person.  She decided what the activity/game would be, and the rest of us would play it.  One afternoon (in the middle of what I can only assume was an awesome game), I realized that I needed to pee.  The teachers were all the way on the other side of the playground and for some reason I didn’t want to walk up to them by myself to ask if I could go inside.  In my memory, the walk to the teachers was SO FAR.

I asked Ashley to walk with me to the teacher’s playground post.  She said no, opting to continue the game instead.   I can’t blame her – it is not normal for a 6 or 7 year old to need an escort to walk across the playground – so, I pushed my full bladder from my mind and just kept playing.  I don’t know how long this went on, but soon the need to relieve myself outweighed my fear of approaching the teachers.  I struck out on my own, and when I reached the slide I realized I no longer had to pee.  Yes folks, I had peed my pants.

Now I was REALLY afraid to talk to the teachers!  So, I walked my soggy bottom back to my friends and Ashley’s game.  I was panicking!  What should I do?  I was way too old to be having accidents at school.  I confided in Ashley what had happened.  Suddenly, the teachers were blowing the whistle.  Recess was over.  I was so mortified.  Ashley’s solution (remember, I said she was an idea person): walk behind me in line so that no one would see my pee pants. Lucky for us, the school day was almost over plus my grandmother was picking me up which saved me from the shame of riding the bus in my current state.  With Ashley’s help, I made it back to the classroom with no one the wiser and sneakily positioned my backpack to cover my bum.  I left school that day without incident.

I wish I could say this was the only pee pants incident in my childhood – but alas, it takes me some time to learn.  Most others involved being at a slumber and laughing too hard.  However, almost every one that I can remember could have been solved by just asking where the bathroom is!

Also learned:  It is a true friend who comes to your aid when you have wet your pants and smell like urine.