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.

 

Great American Vacation – The End

So, I’m the worst.  No, I have not been on vacation for an entire three weeks.  After (FINALLY!) reaching our destination, we spent two full days in Seattle and then started the journey back home.  While mom and Baby Sis had a three day drive to Mississippi to look forward to, I hopped on a plane and made it back home to my apartment in just 7 hours.

The trip was great.  We took my sister and her boyfriend to my favorite tourist destination: IKEA.  I love an IKEA.  I could go there every weekend.  And having lunch in the middle of your shopping day is probably the best idea anyone has ever had, ever!  I personally enjoy the chicken strips (I clearly have the sophisticated taste buds of a seven year old).  We got some furniture because when we arrived all Middle Sis and Boyfriend had was a bed and a couch.  Because I had put together all of my IKEA furniture myself (a coffee table), I decided that I was a furniture assembly expert.  Guess what?  A dresser and 2 night stands are WAY harder than a coffee table.  What was I thinking?  When I showed Middle Sis the first finished night stand, I also handed her a few parts that ‘clearly weren’t necessary’.  Whoops!  But the drawers opened and the table stood upright, so I considered it a job well done.

A few other tidbits from our trip:

– The Great Debate.  My mother wanted to use a map (she bought an atlas with all 50 states just for this trip) while Baby Sis and I relied on GPS and Google Maps.  Every time a potential discrepancy in the directions came up, we debated which device would give us the right answer.

– Mom can’t use a smart phone.  Even though she has an iPhone, mom is in constant need of tutorials on how to work it.  And if she makes a mistake, she gets very flustered and wants to give up on technology forever.  “Well, I was trying to do what you said, but now everything is shaking on the screen and I just want — will you just do it?”

– We never went to see the space needle.  While driving around, we occasionally spotted it from afar, but I never took the time to take a picture.  I remembered this at 4:30 a.m. when Middle Sis was giving me a ride to the airport.  Here are the results:

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– Yelp! is the best.  We used it countless times on our trek across America.  Yet another feature of the smart phone that my mother doesn’t understand.  While looking for Mexican restaurants, I came across this picture.  Why no one in my family wanted to eat there I do not know!

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I’m not sure my sister’s boyfriend knew what he was agreeing to by letting us stay in their new apartment.  That means my mom, myself, and both my sisters were all under one roof for 72 hours.  (I’m not sure I completely thought it through myself.)  But honestly, we had a good time.  We haven’t spent that much time together (outside of the holidays) in ages – and that includes when we all lived in the same town.

Although it wasn’t a luxury vacation, I’m really glad I went.  I love my family.  However, if my mom had said ‘Driving across the U-nited States!’ one more time in presence, I might have screamed.

Great (Mississippi) Expectations

Sometimes visiting home can be stressful.  Who are you going to see?  Will you have time for everybody?  What are you going to eat (which is obviously the most important question of all)?  But seriously, there’s a part of me that really hates planning things out especially when it comes to my social engagements.  So when I’m forced to divide my time between mom, dad, sisters, and friends AND I need to come up with some suitable activity, I get a little stressed out.  I have all these expectations of how my trip should go and other factors are always getting in the way!!

But all my neuroses aside, I had a great time at home.  I got to see some friends and catch up, but I also got to relax quite a bit.  Highlights from the trip include: seeing at dear friend at a barbeque (and no one does a barbecue quite like Mississippi in my opinion), playing Settlers of Catan, insisting on a ‘spa day’ (which just means I forced my mom and sister to use this awesome new mud mask I bought), and watching Lifetime original movie Steel Magnolias starring Queen Latifah with my mom.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t have extremely high expectations for the film, but mom and I were both quite misty by the end of it.  Was it exactly what I was expecting?  Maybe not.  But sometimes that’s when the best things happen.

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A beautiful view of a Mississippi interstate highway.

On a slightly unrelated note, I stuffed all three of the Fifty Shades series in my suitcase for my return flight home.  My sister convinced my mom to read the first one and she just had to finish the trilogy.  Do I have great expectations for these books?  Not really.  When I asked my mom about the books she said, “I have to admit, I do not think I am limber enough for some of the activities in those books.”  These books may be trashy and horribly written, but with a statement like that, how can I not read them?  I need to see what all the fuss is about!!