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In Perfect HARMony

20 Jan

Whine: I fear that if Lil’ Sis kept a diary, today’s entry might be entitled, “Another Day, Another Pool Noodle to the Face”.

Cheese: Lil’ Sis is no shrinking violet. I suspect Big Sis will very soon rue the day she noodled her sister.

My kids have been playing together peacefully for the last 5-7 minutes.

This means in the last 5-7 minutes I have not had to say any of the following things:

*No wrestling on top of Mommy.

*We don’t stick our bottoms in each other’s faces when we’re not wearing underpants. (Got your underpants on? Different story.)

*Why is your lunch behind the dresser?

*Put that skewer down and go jump on the trampoline.

*Stop arguing over which Bible story we’re reading. Mommy’s already chosen Cain and Abel.

Do you understand how LONG 5-7 minutes is in the world of a mother?

In 5-7 minutes you might be capable of returning not one but TWO text messages! In 5-7 minutes you might be able to sneak in half a cup of cold coffee. In 5-7 minutes (and only if you’re lucky) you might be able to read (another) article deailing the virtues of last-night’s episode of Sherlock.

I wish I could tell you how to find this far-off utopia where kids play as if their siblings are actual human beings and where their toys become tools of imaginative delight rather than harbingers of destruction. But I’m a mother, not a magician. The best I can do is give you a few pointers and wish you luck.

Hint #1-This is the most important one. Do NOT, under any circumstances attempt to use, or even enter, the bathroom. For any purpose. Even something as minor as brushing ones teeth will immedialy result in conflict. Or injury. Most likely conflict-related injury.

Hint #2-Feeding yourself is out of the question. The preparation of sustenance of any sort will cause immediate dietary needs in your offspring. Even if they are ouside and cannot hear you open the refrigerator to make your kale and spinach salad topped with sunflower seeds and balsamic, they will sense the preparation of food and immediately race to the kitchen and wrap their mewling, writhing bodies around your legs until you stop and throw them some processed cheese food and a half-gallon of milk.

Hint #3-Attempts at personal correspondence are also unwise. A surreptitious text message (or two)may slide by them, but emails, facebook messages or heaven forbid, phone calls will result in immediate danger to all involved, possibly death.

Hint #4-Do not attempt to document Peace Time in ANY way. Indulge yourself the pleasure of watching your progeny enjoy each other as you always dreamed they would. Pat yourself on the back for producing such civil children, then get the heck out of dodge before they spot you. Do not attempt to take pictures or text anyone about this miraculous occurrence! The only proof you’ll get of this moment is in 20 years when your kids realize that there are people in the world that are WAY more annoying than their siblings.

Your best strategy for preserving your glorious 5-7 minutes is to remain as motionless as possible without looking relaxed and/or asleep (these are, of course, instant beacons of invitation for disruption). Do the dishes stealthily. Avoid any sudden movements as you fold laundry. Avoid eye contact from behind the page of a boring book and enjoy both of the [boring] pages you get to read. Then, around Minute 8, pull yourself out of your blissful solitude, grab your Clorox wipes and pull up the number for Poison Control because I guarantee you’re going to need them.

Letting Go

3 Aug

Whine: I’m feeling a little lost today. I have more to do than I am humanly capable of and I keep waiting for the movie-style montage where I just knock it all out, complete with a motivational soundtrack.

Cheese: I found some chocolate mini donuts and locked myself in my bedroom to eat them. Thank God for Hostess and Kwikset.

The sweet gum tree in our front yard is dead. Last year’s heat bonanza combined with some benign neglect on our part sealed its fate. Early this spring, a few optimistic tendrils ventured out from the middle of the branches, but by the time we returned from vacation, we knew it was time to do the humane thing and take it down.

So we’ve got a guy coming next week to do the deed. He came by the other day to make arrangements. Unfortunately, Big Sis caught wind of what was going down and immediately registered her displeasure. She spent the better part of an hour running through the stages of grief. Bargaining, blame, violent and random bursts of hysteria.

I sat and tried to talk her through it all. At one point, she looked at me and with a plaintive tone befitting an overacted made-for-tv movie, asked, “Mom, why is letting go so hard?”

The irony of the whole episode was that by the time the man comes to cut down the tree that stands in front of our house, we won’t even live here anymore.

Because we’re moving.

When?

Today. Next week. In a few months. It’s complicated.

We’re moving into Kiki and Papa’s house this weekend, clearing all our stuff out next week and putting it in storage. Then Mr. Dad’s brother and his buddies will move in and we’ll look for a house and move in. Hopefully.

It seems cattywumpus and overwrought, but it’s actually a pretty good set up for us. We get to keep our house and the boys will pay us rent and we’ll take our time finding a house that will fit this three-ring circus a little better.

Except we are now at the stage of the game where I actually have to deal with the fact that it’s happening. Which means facing two things I really, really hate: packing and saying goodbye.

I’ve been cycling through my own stages of grief. Bargaining, blame, violent and random bursts of hysteria. (I wonder where she gets it from?) I got in my custom-made shower yesterday and couldn’t distinguish between the water and my tears, sobbing, “This will be the last shower I ever take in here.”

Mr. Dad is completely befuddled by the whole thing. He keeps trying to tell me that this is what we decided to do because it’s for the best and that everything is going to be just fine. Which is when I tell him that I KNOW that because this whole thing was my idea but it doesn’t stop me from crying hysterically through the (last) bedtime stories and goodnight kisses.

“They’re just feelings,” I tell him, “and they have to come out. ”

“Feelings?” he asks blankly.

It’s a good thing he’s so handsome.

So I got to thinking about why all these tears were ekeing out at odd and inopportune moments and I realized that the letting go thing isn’t so straightforward.

First, there’s the sadness of saying goodbye to the house where I brought all my babies home to. This house has been our only home as a family. And it’s hard to picture making new memories anywhere else.  Not to mention saying goodbye to my neighbor and her sweet little girl, who my kids love with the love of a celebrity stalker, waiting at the window for her car to pull up in the driveway.

Second, there’s the fear that this is the worst idea in the history of ideas. (Which is saying something since someone invented the Pajama Jean.) I mean, we love this little house. What if there’s no other house that we ever like and/or agree on? Or what if there is and it’s more than 1.2 miles away from our relatives? How will I ever borrow sugar/cake pans/spare ovens if we’re so far away?

Third, and this is where it gets really difficult, I found myself with a whole slew of regrets. All the dinner parties I didn’t host because my house was never clean. All the announcements from Brother Bear’s birth that I just found, addressed and sealed but not mailed. All the times I let the kids’ brains turn to jelly in front of the tv instead of making more memories because I was just overwhelmed by it all.

And I think that not having a new house to visualize is actually good. Because instead of projecting a “better, more productive, more organized future” onto a new space, I have to come to terms with the reality of the life I’ve lived in this house the last nine years. Let’s just say that most of it wouldn’t be featured on Pinterest.

So what is the measure of my house the last nine years? Is it my junky medicine cabinet filled with expired Baby Tylenol? (The contents of which conveniently just got relocated to a sink full of water today by Brother Bear.) Is it the closet full of unfinished craft projects? Is it nine years of constantly battling my raging disorganization and pack of occasionally-feral children who couldn’t find a dresser drawer if their lives depended on it?

It is. Because that was part of our life.  We played here. We made gigantic disastrous messes here. We came up with some of our worst ideas here. We lived here.

And I hope that in the process of moving and unpacking (and my kids getting older and less destructive) that we find our ways of living  to be more conducive to civilized company. But I also know that wherever we go, I want our house to be lived in, loved in, wrestled and tickled in, created it, fought in, read in, and been together-ed in. And so I guess I’m not too worried, because if they’re going with me, I think we’ll be fine.

Kitchen Floor Campout

Pooped

27 Oct

Whine: Brother Bear is downright surly this morning. So hungry he can’t sleep and so sleepy he can’t eat. A real ray of sunshine.

Cheese: The only cheese I have today is the Kraft single he just threw on the floor.

Brother Bear woke up an hour and a half early from his two hour nap this morning. I left him in his bed, hollering “MAMA!” like Will Ferrell asking for meatloaf* for a while, then gave up all hope of any respite and retrieved him. His crocodile tears dried instantaneously, he pointed to his fluffy backside with a smile and said “Poop.”

I remember when I was pregnant with Big Sis and the nausea of changing my niece’s poopy diaper almost pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t even do it and had to beg my sister for mercy.

Pre-kids me was such a wimp.

I have officially changed so many poopy diapers that the act leaves me completely unfazed, regardless of severity. Yet poop remains my single greatest enemy. Yes, poop.

Poop has derailed many a naptime, taking what was once my only breather for the day (and by breather I mean alone-time with my piles of laundry) and turned it into a moment-by-moment battle against EHS (Exploding Head Syndrome). Because the baby who pooped himself awake after only 30 minutes is just a wee bit touchy.

Poop has ended playdates and caused more than one premature and hasty exit from a swimming party.

Poop (or the lack thereof) has hijacked family vacations– from splashing in the lake to sitting around the potty and waiting for the blessed event. Waiting. Crying. Begging. Pleading.

Poop, when discovered in the planter box by our front door (which apparently makes a great litter box for cats on the go), can maybe, possibly push one mama over the edge.

I’m just gonna say it: Today has been a particularly poopy day. Literally.

And I am not myopic enough to think that my life is the hardest. Shoot, my life doesn’t even begin to qualify as hard. I know that. But there are just days when living in the moment. . . well, it stinks. And even as I put my feet up and soak in my self-pity (for lack of Calgon), I know that another moment will come along soon and I’ll be smiling and laughing and hoping my kids never change a bit. But not this moment.

In fact, if a yellow school bus showed up and I could send them off for the day (or two. . . or three), I probably would. And I would hope they have lots of hand sanitizer there.

UPDATE: Mr. Dad just went to change another stinky diaper (#3 for today) and found not one, but two pennies in there.  Sigh

*I would post the clip from Wedding Crashers because it sounds just like my son, but it has some non-family-friendly language in it, so feel free to find the clip yourself if you are so inclined.

**In the time it took me to write the last two paragraphs, Brother Bear found a glass jar to shatter on the kitchen floor. Which I left sitting there while I strapped the kids in the car and headed to pick up Big Sis from school.

***This post is dedicated to all the mothers out there who aren’t sure if they can make it ’til bedtime (which is at, like 5:45, right??). I’m not sure either, but we’re in this together. For a much more encouraging take on all this, read THIS.

I’ve Got the Joy

15 Sep

Whine: I have been very successful in getting myself to bed earlier in the last few weeks. Unfortunately this is not the same as going to sleep earlier. Not at all. Lying in bed awake for hours at a time does not quite give you the same restful feeling as it would if you could actually convince your brain to go to shut the heck up and go to sleep.

Cheese: I am a lot better rested than I was six years ago today, as I had been up for two straight days trying to convince Big Sis that she really did want to enter the world and not stay in utero forever.

I remember waddling into the tiny, cramped room with Mr. Dad at my side. I remember oofing myself up onto the naugahyde exam table. I remember the cold feeling as the sonogram tech prepped my belly. I remember crying softly as she said, “It’s a girl.”

The first thing we did before we even finished the appointment was choose our firstborn’s middle name. It would be four more months and a melodramatic delivery room monologue (you’d be amazed how persuasive one can be mid-labor) before I we picked a first name. But from those first minutes of knowing we were having a daughter, we both knew one thing. We were filled with Joy.

And Joy she is and has been.

Kisses from an adoring Brother Bear.

Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments of unjoy. In fact, it’s her extreme happiness when things excite her (like a cardboard box or the number 10) that makes her extreme displeasure (having to stop what she’s doing to eat dinner or getting a pink balloon instead of a red one) so difficult to bear.

See what I mean?

She is also a tiny bit of a crazy person. I often come into the room and notice that she has hung necklaces from the ceiling fan. Or tied all the pull-toys in the nursery together to make a parade (those knots are a booger to undo). Or she tells me from behind the shower curtain as she takes a bath “Mommy, wait, I have a surprise for you.” then proceeds to drench me with bathwater and laugh maniacally while I scowl like a drowned cat. And as much at those moments as I might want to sigh violently and wonder when school starts, I love that crafty little brain of hers.

This pretty much sums her up. A dainty ironman ready to (gently) kick some butt.

School finally did start for her last week. My baby’s in kindergarten.

I wasn’t sure how this would all play out for me because Big Sis is doing a 3-day program at the same school she’s been going to for preschool. So in reality kindergarten is no different for us in location or schedule than it was last year.

But my first clue to my fragile emotional state was the night before the big day when I couldn’t get my First Day of Kindergarten sign printed which was all Mr. Dad’s fault, of course, (I mean, not technically, but still) and I wasn’t going to be able to appropriately capture her fist day and have it on film forever and I started sobbing hysterically and couldn’t stop. Then when  my sister-in-law swooped with my precious sign after a late-night trip to Kinkos and I could barely get the ‘Thank you’ out of my mouth before I was sobbing again, I knew we were in trouble.

Drop off the next day went fine. I managed to keep all the crazy inside and get my little sweetie shuffled into the waiting arms of her new teacher. I made it out of the building and headed to work. Where I did no work. Unless having a four-hour case of cry hiccups and sobbing your way through staff meeting counts as work. Which, since I work at a church, it kind of does.

This makes you cry, too, right?

Big Sis is rocking Kindergarten. She’s joined a soccer team because (her words) “I am really good at soccer.” She makes her own turkey sandwiches and (her words) “Saved Brother Bear’s life the other day.” She has started reading and writing–even sometimes on paper–and she can add and make patterns. I don’t know how, but we’ve seemed to fast forward  from the day (yesterday, right?) when we were teaching her that a cow says “moo”. But then again, it seems like she’s been a part of our life forever because I can’t really remember what it was like without her.

Sweetness

And we have our moments. Moments when one or both of us is frustrated that things did not go according to plan. Times when we both want to call the shots. But that’s mostly because, as Mr. Dad likes to point out as we’re locking horns over the correct way to frost a cupcake, she’s my little me (only smarter and way cuter).

She is my little light. Generous and kind, she runs to welcome her friends with a pair of open (sometimes suffocating) arms. She mother-hens her brother and younger cousins. She often shares her top bunk with Lil’ Sis as they giggle into bedtime. She reminds me to be content with what I have “Mom, don’t be jealous of Aunt A, it’s ok that she has a bigger bathtub”. She’s the one that has given me my dream job. And in a few years when we are locking horns over trigonometry homework or the appropriate length of a skirt (ankle, right?), I want to remember just how grateful I am for this joy she’s given me down in my heart.

We both look shockingly young, don't we?

 

Tension Headache

18 Aug

Whine: My shower and I had an altercation yesterday. I’ve got a pair of goose eggs and a big ol’ scrape on my forehead to show for it.

Cheese: You should see the other guy.

Well now my head hurts and the only 60 minutes of the last 10,080 that I’ve had alone I spent scraping my dizzy and crying self off the floor of my shower. Go ahead and laugh, I know you’re going to.  It IS a little funny.

After I called and scared the you-know-what out of Mr. Dad “Hey honey, I’m home alone and I blacked out in the shower and hit my head and I’m bleeding [sob] but don’t worry about me I’ll be ok [sniff] I pulled myself together. OK, fine, I called My Mommy, too. But then after she came and kissed it and made it all better, I was really, really mad. I wasted all my kid-free time icing my stupid lumpy head.

I was really mad about those precious 60 minutes because I don’t have any to spare. I love having my kids at home with me all day every day for summer vacation even though I still have to work at an actual job that does not have a summer vacation. It’s very hard to plan lessons and stamp out playdoh at the same time. Not impossible, but difficult. And messy.  So can you see my problem?

That’s good. Because my vision is still a little blurry.

I’ve spent the summer negotiating, bargaining and just plain making-it-work. I’m working at home, working at night, working while small people are climbing on me like a jungle gym. I’m not sure this was what my boss had in mind when she said I could work Flextime.

But we also went camping yesterday. We pitched our tent between the foot of my bed and the dresser and waited for the bear attack to come. It did eventually come, but it was a very polite if not somewhat distracted, bear, followed by a bear cub who just wanted to tackle everybody on the floor. Then we caught and fried up some fish for snack–our stream spawns the orange whole wheat kind. I cooled off with some refreshing water from my sippy canteen.

Then I slipped away from camp to a place where there was good cell reception (South Living Room) and made a few calls. I had just enough time to shoot off a few important emails before they found me and dragged me back to the woods.

And that has been my summer in a nutshell. Play, work, lock myself in the bathroom, repeat. One minute I’m racing my kids around the house inside my suitcase and laughing my head off, thinking I’m a pretty fun mom with really fun kids and hoping summer will never end. The next minute I’m breathing into a paper bag because I have about ten deadlines and the stacks of unwashed dishes are  mocking me from the kitchen counter and there’s no space or alone time in sight and school doesn’t start for another three weeks how in the blue blazes am I going to survive three more weeks????

And when that day finally arrives and I ship Brother Bear off to his first day of preschool don’t you think I am going to feel really sad and have second thoughts because he’s so fun and just a little guy, after all? And when Lil’ Sis run straight into her classroom with her friends and forgets to kiss me goodbye, don’t you know that I’m going to be imagining that this is how it’ll be more and more every year until it’s college and she won’t need me at all?? And when I walk Big Sis in that door and I suddenly realize that I am sending my baby to kindergarten, don’t you think I am going to ABSOLUTELY FREAK THE HECK OUT AND POSSIBLY MAKE A SCENE IN FRONT OF ALL THE OTHER PARENTS?

Then I will wipe off my splotchy face, pull myself together and head to the first staff meeting in months where none of the agenda involves turning on Veggie Tales or distributing animal crackers. (Although my boss does get cranky around snack time. Oops, that’s me, not her.) I’ll sit at my desk and complete actual tasks without too much juvenile interruption.  And then I’ll feel really, really guilty because for the first time in a long time I’ll feel like the non-Mommy version of myself. And I’ll like it.

But then I’ll pick them up and see their faces and hear their stories and squeeze them as hard as I can and be really glad they’re home. Until tomorrow.

This whole I’m-a-mom-and-also-still-a-person thing is a real pain. When I’m not 100% mom 100% of the time I feel guilty. When I’m not getting my work done the way I want when I want, I feel guilty. When I’m sitting on the couch watching DVR and sipping a glass of red wine, I feel guilty (but a very relaxed guilty.)

It’s a hard balancing act. One that requires dedication and flexibility. Skill and grace. Whine and Cheese. No wonder I have a headache.

Dear Whine and Cheese

23 May

Whine: Ever since the Great Hail Debacle of ’95, when softball-sized hail came hurtling through our kitchen window (and also the windshield of my  brown 1983 Ford Fairmont), I have been just a teensy weensy bit scared of spring storms here in Texas. And also I hate getting my hair wet.

Cheese: Between the T-Storm/Large Hail warning on the radio and the peals of thunder overhead, I was very motivated to make my trip to Target quite brief. Who knew mortal danger could be such a money saver?

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I know as a family we are supposed to be spending lots of quality time together, but I’m not sure what to do. Got any suggestions?

Sincerely,

What Do I Do With All These Children

Dear What To Do,

I want to give you credit for desiring more Quality Time with your family. We all know that without enough Quality Time each and every day, all of your kids will grow up to either disown you or live in your garage indefinitely, so I think it’s important to do what you can while they are young. The good news is that Quality Time can come in many different forms:

Taking advantage of free activities in your community is one easy way to spend time together. Arriving two minutes late for the town Easter Egg hunt will allow you to park far enough away so that not only do you miss the actual egg hunt, you will also be able to push your emotionally exhausted 5 1/2 year old in a stroller while carrying your fussy toddler on your hip while your spouse carries your middle child on his shoulders, which is excellent for your cardiovascular conditioning. You will then have the opportunity to go to a local discount store to spend money on your own eggs and candy in order to recreate the hunt at home later that day in lieu of the free hunt you missed.

Doing arts and crafts is another way to stretch your children’s creativity and your patience simultaneously. Painting, gluing, eating thumbtacks and dropping loaded paintbrushes on your hair are all great ways to build fine-motor skills and digestive tolerance. Not to mention the gift-giving potential of a nice homemade gift, because who wouldn’t be touched to receive a repurposed juice bottle filled with tiny pom-poms and covered in streamers? It’s eco-friendly too!

Letting your family assist you in the kitchen also builds strong communal ties. There is something primal about letting your child mix the chicken salad and then wail unintelligibly as you wrap it in lettuce to make cute little chicken salad boats because (you discover much later) the boat lettuce was not cut at the correct angle. Baking cookies and cupcakes is also fun, as your family will develop a keen sense of when it is time to appear (when there are tastes to be had) and to disappear (when there are counters full of sticky dishes to be done).  Perhaps the disappearing act will someday transfer to the time while you are trying to shower or use the bathroom.

In the end, anything you can do to kill time enjoy each other can be considered Quality Time. Just remember, even the Von Trapps didn’t sing all the time. Sometimes they made clothes from curtains or escaped evil political regimes.  So just keep that in mind when planning your next family ordeal outing.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

How do I know if the time we’re spending together is Quality Time or if it’s just Regular Time?

Sincerely,

Does TV Count

Dear TV,

Determining the nature of your time together can be tricky business, so I have devised a Quality Time checklist for your convenience. Score one point for each item, unless otherwise noted.  If you score a ‘3’ or higher, you’ll know you have achieved Quality Time.

1. Forced participation of family members (1 point for each unwilling person)

2. A preparation/clean-up time to actual time spent ratio of at least 5-to-1 (i.e., At least 5 minutes of prep for each minute of actual enjoyment.)

3. Misunderstanding/miscommunication resulting in total meltdown. (1 point for each door slam, frustrated head banged on wall, or tantrum; 2 points if tantrum is in public or  full-out, flat on floor screaming fit.)

4. Arguments regarding trivial details

(Examples: type of sandwich for picnic, seating arrangement in vehicle, choice of dvd for road trip, color of game marker in Candy Land)

5. Exorbitant and unexpected cost (1 point for each unplanned $25 spent)

6. Pictures that make it look like you actually had fun. Pictures assist in creating the Magic Memory Filter all children need in order to look back on their childhoods with that happy, rosy glow. (And yes, pictures from the ER totally count.)

I hope this checklist can be of assistance in your quest for Quality Time.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

A really good friend of mine just published her 100th blog post and I’m very happy for her (even though it took her 2 1/2 years to do it and her posts mostly revolve around getting stuck in windows and the clean up of bodily fluids). What should I do to congratulate her?

Sincerely,

Loyal Reader

Dear Loyal,

Your friend obviously sounds like a delightful (although perhaps slightly disturbed) person. After showering her with lavish gifts and diet coke, I recommend spending some Quality Time commenting on her 100th post and reading through some of her old stories. I hear her take on potty training is informative as well as her handy tips on procrastinating and grocery shopping. I was in the mood for a good laugh-cry, so I read this and this.

And I’m sure, being the delightful person she is, she would want you to know how grateful she is to have a reader friend like you. I would hazard a guess that she really enjoys getting to tell her stories and feel so accepted and encouraged both in parenting and in writing for such a nice person as you.

With Much Love and Gratitude,

Whine and Cheese

For My Sister

24 Sep

Whine:  Last night I stepped into my bedroom and into a large, slushy puddle of water simultaneously. After scanning the room for evidence of Tiny Terrorism and finding none, I shrugged and cleaned it up. When I returned to the scene an hour later and the slushy puddle had returned, with a vengeance, I called for back up. Turns out my air conditioner is disgruntled about having to work so late into September and is protesting by spewing water all over my carpet.

Cheese: Mr. Dad just earned his second “Fix the A/C” badge for his Handyman vest. He may have had to rip up the carpet and remove the bedroom door in the process, but at least I’m not borrowing from Big Sis’ college fund to pay for an emergency after-hours repair guy to come rip up my carpet and remove my bedroom door. Because that would be weird.

I want to dedicate today’s post to my sister Wren. Today is her birthday. And if you’ll excuse my language, it’s going to be a really craptastic birthday. Let’s just say it’s been a terribly hard week for her, and today will be no exception. And while I’m glad that she has a cute little house and cute little kids (and of course her hubby, “Uncle Steve”), I’m sad because they are all in sunny Florida. And that’s there and she’s there, and I’m precisely the opposite of that. I’m here.

And it just sucks to be so far away when she needs me to fan her and feed her grapes. (It’s what any good sister would do.) I mean I can’t even mail her a noodle casserole or anything because I’m pretty sure the UPS guy would scarf it all down before it got there because who can resist a noodle casserole??

And so the best I can do is try to make her laugh or at least entertain her. So I’ll probably spend the rest of this post telling stories about the good ol’ days and bore the pants off the rest of you, but I don’t really care because it’s not your birthday, unless it is, in which case you’re still probably not having quite as craptastic of a day as my sister so quit your whining already.

At some point in the early 90s Wren and I went to summer camp together. On the last night of camp there was an all-camp pizza party out on the grassy hill. We were all sitting around talking and hanging out. This apparently was really lame, so some of the boys started playing frisbee with the pizza boxes. Wren and I were ignoring them because we were deeply involved in a conversation in which we discussing our funerals. Looking back, I see how the pizza box frisbee may have broken out, as funeral arrangements are not that interesting to most eighth graders. Just as she was promising to bring flowers to my funeral, I felt something drop out of the sky right onto my head.

Upon further inspection and through choked back tears we discovered that I had just been hit with a full can of Sprite. Apparently the pizza boxes got boring and someone started throwing soda cans. I felt the Sprite spilling down my head, so Wren ran me up the hill to the nurse’s station. Except when we got there I realized it was most certainly not Sprite, but blood, trickling down my forehead. I looked like an extra in a bad axe-murderer movie. (As opposed to the good axe-murderer movie, which is one of mine and Wren’s favorites.)

In the end I was taken to the local middle-of-nowhere hospital, had a few stitches put in (it was merely a flesh wound) and went back to camp to milk my injury for all it was worth. But the thing I remember most was laughing so hard afterward with my sister about the irony of “almost dying” while discussing funeral plans. And the fact that there was someone else in the world with a sense of humor as morbid as mine.

Wren (far left) and I (far right) post soda can episode. Wish I could blame head trauma for my choice of shorts, or should I say jorts?

Wren and I, along with our other three sisters, have shared a lot of life together. School dances, breakups, vacations, and myriad bad style choices (see above). We have played dress up more than any teenagers probably should. We’ve had our fights, although fighting with Wren is pretty useless, as she will just argue until you are beaten down and give up.

A little too much time on our hands, I think.

As we’ve grown up we’ve done everything at almost the same time: gone to college, gotten jobs, gotten married (three weeks apart), and had kids. All the while we’ve remained friends and partners in life.  Our neurotic fixations may have changed over the years, but we still understand each other pretty perfectly. And I’m so glad that when the sky is falling, either literally or figuratively, that we have each other.  Happy birthday, Sis.