Those of you who’ve been reading me for a while have heard me talk about my sister and how she helped to inspire me to chase my writing dreams. She’s the one who wondered why I wasn’t writing in the first place. She’s the one who got my membership to the Florida Writer’s Association…to encourage me and to push me to follow my dreams. (Oh, and she was also the one who saved us from that evil frog in the toilet)
Well, in about a week, she and her husband, along with her furbaby will be down for a visit. I’m excited! I love to spend time with my sister. We do all those girly things…shop, get our nails done, read by the pool. We also spend a fair amount of time singing together. We’ve been doing it our whole lives. Where I’m the writer in the family, she’s the musician. In fact, not only was she my maid of honor, she also sang in my wedding.
But there was a time…a long, long time ago…where she was my annoying kid sister. She came along when I was two. My mom says we were inseperable. In fact, I was her translator. She’d say “Oh Dear!” and I was the one who would tell my mom that she wanted “orange joice”. Yeah…still not sure how those two translated, but apparently I had kid-sister-speak down!
And we used to move around a lot (being military brats it was a given), so there were times where all we had was each other. Until my brother came along two years later, then my other brother, two years after that. Oddly enough, the only two children born in the same country was me and our youngest brother. We were both born in the Philippines. My sister was born in California, then we moved to Germany, where my other brother was born.
It was in Germany that we first played with snow and built the biggest snowman ever! In fact, this is my sister and I with the our parents and the snow man. My mom would be pregnant with my brother in a month or so… That nose kept falling off, so my dad had to break off a giant icicle later to make his nose.
It was also in Germany where my mom taught us all about the joys of baking. We’d hit the forest preserve behind our house and go berry picking, then make fresh berry pies. Or sometimes it would be breads. This was also when we were very young and didn’t understand sibling rivalry. Here’s a pic of us with our brother shortly before we left Germany to head back to the Philippines.
Life in Germany was fun. We’d got to France sometimes on the weekends… and other times we’d chill at home. It was then that we learned that our English vocabulary was a bit extensive for our age. We’d been on a walk with a bunch of kids from church along with some of their parents. As kids are prone to do, we were running instead of walking. Well, there was giant horse turd in the middle of the road….and the conversation went something like this (I was 4 or 5 at the time):
Me: Uncle Dennis, Uncle Dennis!
Uncle Dennis: What?
Me: I just jumped over a giant pile of feces!
Uncle Dennis: You WHAT?
Me: I just jumped over a giant pile of feces!
Uncle Dennis: Oh! What do you say when you have to pee?
Me: Pee? Oh! You mean urinate?
Upon arriving back at the house:
Uncle Dennis: Josie, what the heck are you teaching your kids?
Uncle Dennis: Feces? Urinate?
Mom: I don’t understand…
Uncle Dennis: Your daughter jumped over some poop and called it feces.
Mom: What’s poop?
Uncle Dennis: You know, crap, dung…POOP!
Me: Mom, he’s talking about feces.
Uncle Dennis: Who talks like that?
Pastor’s Wife (laughing): I remember when I was young we just called it #1 and #2!
And that was just the beginning. You see, my mom was born and raised in the Philippines, so her knowledge of the English language was very technical and all from school. She had no idea about slang, so she taught us English the way she learned it. Our next tour was back in the Philippines. This is where the closer than close relationship my sister and I had began to evolve. She was very unhappy when I started going to school because it meant I wasn’t there with her anymore. It didn’t help that people at church would tease her by telling her they were taking me away with them. She would cry…until we told her they were just teasing.
It was also at this time when I gave her “the haircut”. Oh, yeah… Mom really was NOT happy with me for that one. In third world countries during this time, lice was not uncommon. Not only did you learn in school what they looked like, you learned how to search for them. What did I do to my trusting little sister with that knowledge? Well…before I continue I plead “the devil made me do it”. I was playing with her hair one day when I got this brilliant idea. Looking down into her hair, knowing how trusting she was, I thought I’d play a practical joke (I was about 8). The tsking sounds started to come. Lil sis got steadily more concerned until she couldn’t hold it in anymore…
Sis: What? What’s wrong?
Devil Me: Nothing ::sigh::
Sis: Something’s wrong. Tell me!
Devil Me: You have lice.
Sis: (wailing) Oh no! Get it out! Get it out!
Devil Me: I don’t know….
Devil Me: Ok, wait here. I’ll get the scissors.
I proceeded to hack a big chunk of hair right out of the center of her head…about as close to the scalp as you can get. Needless to say, mom was furious. It didn’t matter to her that I’d gained my sister’s consent first. I got my butt paddled. Poor sis had to wear all sorts of funky hairdo’s with barettes, trying to pull hair over to cover the near bald spot I gave her.
Here is one of the last pictures taken with all four of us back in the Philippines. I’d just finished doing a native Filipino dance for one of the school performances, so I’m dressed in local Filipino attire along with the coconut husks they use in the dance. Sis’s hair had grown back…thank goodness!
Our relationship changed again when I was about 15 years old. My sister had started dating for the first time. In fact, she was dating my boyfriend’s best friend. This was their first time alone together and I knew that this would probably be her first kiss.
Me: So? How did it go?
Sis: (sour face) Ok. He doesn’t know how to kiss though.
Me: What do you mean he doesn’t know how to kiss? Wasn’t this your first kiss?
Me: So how would you know?
Sis: Because when he kissed me he stuck his tongue in my mouth then left it there like a dead fish!
Me: (laughing hysterically) Like a dead fish? He just stuck it there and left it? Eww!
Sis: Yeah! Even I know that’s not how French kissing goes. I’ve seen you do it often enough….
Me: Hey! I am so not looking forward to telling his best friend about this…
Sis walks away laughing…
And so the relationship began to evolve back towards friendship. Sisters are great! We laugh with each other, we cry with each other. We push each other to reach for our dreams. And we have each other’s backs…even when the enemy is mom. LOL! I will say this about the next story. Being a parent takes intestinal fortitude. Being a single parent is even harder because there’s no one to share the burden with….so understand her craziness came from fear…for me repeating her mistakes, for my life to be over before it began…I get it…but it still doesn’t change the fact that I was falsely accused. 😉
Mom: (waving a foil packet with pills in it in my face and screaming) You’re on birth control? You’re having sex? I haven’t given you permission to go on birth control!
Me: What are you talking about? I’m not on birth control. I haven’t had sex!
Mom: Then what’s this? (waves packet in my face again) Don’t lie to me! I know you’re on birth control. I’m not stupid!
Me: MOM! I’M. NOT. ON. BIRTH. CONTROL!
Mom: No? Well then whose are these? You’re on birth control. Do you want to end up making the same mistakes I did?
Me: (yeah, a bit of a smartass) If I wanted to make the same mistakes you did, would I be on birth control?
Mom: See? I KNEW it!
Me: MOM! I swear, I’m not on birth control!
Mom: Then what’s this?
Sis: (coming from the bedroom) What is all the screaming about?
Mom: Your sister is having sex! See? (she waves packet in sis’s face) She’s on birth control!
Sis: (grabs packet from Mom’s hand) This?
Sis: Mom! These are my cleaning enzymes for my contacts. Did you READ the label?
Sis: Yeah. Oh!
Me: See? I told you I’m not on birth control!
I’m thankful every day for my sister. She’s become my best friend over the years… The above song is actually a song we’ve been known to sing together. In fact, a friend recorded us singing the song together the day we were preparing for my wedding. Maybe I’ll see if I can dig it up and put it on here for ya’ll to hear if I can find it again…. That is, if anyone is interested.
So tell me…who has been the rock in your life? The one constant…to see you through the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows? Who pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to be better than you are today? Do you have siblings? Any funny or silly stories to share? I’d love to hear them!