Today Heather’s parents were kind of enough to come and take my two daughters – Maddie and Rigby – to their house so that I could have a mental health day. With no one to take care of but myself I went to the movies and saw a couple flics, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “Rachel Getting Married.” The first flick had two adorable leads but sort of bored the heck out of me. Sadly, I think that I have finally hit the age – a couple months shy of 33 – where I find movies about teenagers juvenile instead of loads of fun. This, of course, excludes any movies made about teenagers during the eighties and early nineties which I will watch endlessly for nostalgia’s sake. John Hughes? Woot! Woot!
The second movie, “Rachel Getting Married,” was a little more the speed of someone my age and I generally liked it. What struck me, however, was how the two sisters in the movie fought and fought and fought. While they likely – hopefully – had issues Maddie and any prospective sibling would never have, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like if Maddie had a little brother or sister.
You see, in my life the “only children” I have known have been incredibly self absorbed and selfish, and I don’t want Maddie to grow up that way. On the other hand I’m not crazy about the idea of living in a home with two kids, let alone – gasp – two teenagers, at each others’ throats. This got me thinking about my relationship with my own sister which, while it is good now, wasn’t always the best.
What follows are but a couple examples of our youthful battles:
1. When I was four-years-old my sister, who is two years my senior, picked up a fresh piece of our dog’s poo with a sandwich bag and chased me around the garage threatening to rub it on my face. As I ran away, frightened, I looked back to see how much she was gaining on me. I then ran into my Dad’s pool table and knocked myself out. When my parents found me passed out on the ground my face was covered in blood and they thought I was dead. I ended up having to get a bunch of stiches.
2. When my sister was eight and I was six we were riding our bikes one night in the front yard when I decided to touch my front tire to her back tire to see if I could make her fall off her bike.
To my horror, instead of making her just fall of her bike, it sent her flying forward and she impaled her “downstair’s partner” on the bar below the handles. She started bleeding profusely from her “downstair’s partner,” and my parents frantically called over our neighbor who was a doctor. I sat outside her room as she screamed bloody murder as the doc looked her over.
I never told her about my crime for a good decade and a half until one Thanksgiving we were drinking and laughing and had the following conversation:
Me: “Remember when you fell onto the bar below the handles of your bike and started bleeding from your downstair’s partner?”
Sis: “Why do you call it my ‘downstair’s partner’?”
Me: “‘Cause I didn’t want to say ‘your vagina’.”
Sis: “Good point. My little brother talking about my vagina is sort of barf worthy. Let’s stick with ‘downstair’s partner.”
Me: “It’s a good euphimism, right?”
Sis: “Totally. So what about my downstair’s partner?”
My sister chuckles. I do too, then start laughing so hard I can barely talk.
Me: “You…didn’t…just…fall…off….your…bike. I touched my front tire….to your back one…and made it happen.”
I laugh hardest yet until I notice my sister is deadly serious. She hits me.
Sis: “Asshole. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to have kids because of that night!”
Me: “Yeah, well, you got two so shut up!”
Sis: “You shut up!”
Me: “No, you!”
My sister storms off. The rest of the night is awkward.
Anyway, the point is that siblings can drive each other – and their parents – up the wall. There are, of course, great benefits to having siblings, but at the same time, being a Dad to two kids who go crazy on each other like my sister and I did doesn’t sound like the most fun.
What do you all think? Will Maddie (and my) life be better or worse if she has a sibling?