First, to this day, I still don't understand why in the world my parents owned a ceramic dog. They aren't the type. And the way I remember this dog, it was just like that dog that no one ever purchased on the old Wheel of Fortune. Remember? Those were the days when Vanna had to physically turn the letters. And contestants spent their prize money on random items spinning around on a gigantic lazy susan. One of those items was a huge ceramic dog. That no one ever bought. And I broke it, or one just like it.
And second, I'm pretty sure she started it.
You see, I'm the second born and middle child. It's a heavy load, I can assure you. As a child, I just wanted everyone to love me, all the time. All I wanted from my sister was her unconditional love, acceptance, encouragement in all things, play time, and, well, I also really wanted to read her diary.
So, on this particular day, I was reading her diary. And let me tell you, she did not write nice things about me at all. I was not a baby. I did not say mean things to her. And I DID NOT HAVE A TEMPER. It was such an unfair representation of me. How could she? If my best friend Misty saw this she would leak it to the entire first grade! (Oohh! Misty could make me so mad, too. Was the whole world against me?)
Here's what happened when she found me:
"MISSY, are you reading my DIARY?!? That's my private diary! Put it DOWN!"
"Yeah, I am. So what? You can't make me!" I probably said this after I stuck my tongue out at her...in self-defense.
"Stay out of my things, you little twit!" she screamed as she ripped the diary out of my small, defenseless hands, "This is PRIVATE!!!"
For obvious reasons, this made me really, really, mad. So I picked up that stupid, Wheel of Fortune dog and threw it - just to show her how mad she made me. And also because children have no control of their feelings or actions. At least that was the defense I was prepared to present to my parents if that dog actually hit her.
But it didn't. Instead, upon floor impact it cracked and the dog's head fell off. We both just stared at the dog. Up until this point, our fights had never led to the destruction of household items. This was bad.
But here's the best and most surprising part. Instead of running off to tell mom, or berating me for being exactly the kind of kid her diary was all too familiar with, my sister knelt down, picked up the dog, and said we, that's right we, needed to fix it. I was floored.
My...sister...really...loved...me. Y-E-S!! I'm not sure how reading her diary did it, but she must finally realize that despite our three year age difference, I was probably the coolest kid she would ever know. And to prove it, she was going to show me how to avoid telling the truth to our parents. She was the best role model, ever.
Fortunately, my sister did not lead me down a path of destruction and cover-ups. Our relationship was not exactly what I pictured it would be in the years that followed. (To be honest, I did envision me sharing a room with her, wearing her clothes and reading her diary whenever I wanted.) But, over time she became my best friend, really and truthfully.
Over the years, I have often glanced at my daughters and thought how lucky they are to have each other. They will cherish one other, just like I cherish my big sis, I think.
But now...they have begun to fight...and in much the same way my sister and I used to fight.
Sigh. The never-ending tale of sisters continues. I have secured ceramic dogs, nailed bookshelves to the walls, and put away all toys which can be used as weapons. I worry about them. Will they ever be friends? Will they ever love each other again? And then...
...a few nights ago, I sent the girls up to the bathroom to brush their teeth. As usual, they had been bickering about one thing or another all day. I knew that eventually I would have to hobble up there (crutches, remember) to stop the inevitable fight. Then...laughter. Little girl giggles, which are literally the best kind of giggle. I hear,
"Hold still, sweetie. You got toothpaste all over your hair. HOLD STILL! I will get it out."
I hobble anyway, just so I can take a peek.
I see my 6 year old with a kind and loving smile on her face wiping the toothpaste out of her little sister's hair. I see my 4 year old gazing up at her sister with a goofy grin and absolute adoration in her eyes.
Is this their moment? The moment they will hold onto over the fights to come? The moment that will guide them to that late night teary phone call to the one person who will understand? The moment that forever reminds them that having a sister is a built-in best friend?
"HOLD STILL!!! Stop staring at me like that!"
"Hold still. Stop staring at me like that." Her little sister repeats.
Damn. Maybe not this moment. But I'm sure it will happen...eventually.