|Me and my brothers (and yes, two of us were later recipients of braces)|
Painful at times, but fun most times. I do know that I have thicker skin because of it.
At a young age I was taught the art of fighting back physically, and mouthing back when Mom wasn't listening. I could scrap and hold my own with the best of them. I climbed trees and skinned my knees while battling to keep up with my older brothers and their friends. The forever little sister.
I am now going to confess things my mother didn't know. Mom's typical response to our fighting and verbal sparring was very standard. "You three need to work out your problems on your own." A true travesty in today's culture of the forever helicopter mom.
But she kept her word. We really did have to work it out on our own. There were great life lessons learned and I had bruises to prove it.
Now confession time. Sorry in advance, Mom....
By age 11, I listened to George Carlin's vinyl "Seven Dirty Words" at least a dozen times. My uncles owned this adult album. My brothers would coax me to sneak into the uncle bachelor pad to listen with them. These naughty words will unfortunately be imprinted in my brain forever.
I am quite sure that my brothers used my mom's upstairs plant as a watering hole. It died with no one taking blame. But I had the inside scoop. My brothers were too lazy to walk to the downstairs bathroom in the middle of the night.
My first kiss was on a dare during a game of Truth or Dare in our neighbor's garage. The recipient of my dared kiss was my brothers' friend. For the record, he was as scared as me. And it was my first lesson that chemistry does matter. Kissing a boy is more magical if you like him. Although following through on a dare is exhilarating, the kiss wasn't so great.
During a conversation with Garrett tonight, I was reminded of another of my brothers' shenanigans. The Dutch Oven. As we talked of my years of growing up as the younger sister, Garrett showed no sympathy for my vulnerable youthful predicament. In defending my susceptible ways, I pointed out the various injustices shown to me. But Garrett wouldn't budge.
"It was good for you! Look at how it helped toughen you up as an adult."
Then I explained the Dutch Oven.
My brothers were boys full of gas. There were many strange odors that continuously flowed from their room. And they thought these foul odors and the noises producing them were funny. Boy humor.
As any good sister would do, I ignored them. Unless they were able to taunt me at just the right moment.
If caught laying under a blanket draped over our floor heat vent for warmth, my brothers would often try to "violate" my space by holding me under the pillowing blanket as they filled it with their gas. They called this technique the dutch oven. It was horrid. Yet another injustice where my mother looked the other way.
As I explained this to Garrett, he laughed. There was no sympathy at all. When I text my brother, Matt, asking the name of this gassy shenanigan, he laughed too.
As an adult, I shake my head as I remind myself that little boys just grow up to become big boys. Their humor and enjoyment for life doesn't change a bit. Just the amount of hair and body girth changes with age. In fact, I bet they would still listen to the George Carlin album and pee in my mom's plant if given the opportunity.
Yet despite the perpetual bruises, I am blessed. Thank-you, Mom, for looking the other way. Being the little sister really wasn't a bad gig. I think I would listen to George Carlin again too. Just don't tell Mom.