I was discussing with a co-worker this evening a church that my family attended when I was a baby, and it brought to mind the last time I attended Mass there. We had moved elsewhere for church when I was still quite little, but occasionally still went to Mass there for a while. Eventually, though, we had stopped altogether going there, and always went to one of two other nearby churches. Therefore, it is easy for me to remember the last time I attended Mass at this particular church, because it was a singular event, with no other occurrences within years of its happening.
My youngest brother and I were tasked with going to church together on our own. He was probably 16 or so, making me 12 at the time. I remember how we were hanging out at home, and how he was playing games on the still-new PS2. And I eventually finished getting dressed at the last minute, and we rushed off to Mass.
We ended up having the Mass time incorrect, so we weren’t just a little bit late to Mass. But we stayed, anyway, and attended what little was left of it once we arrived. When we arrived back home, a very unique experience happened, and one which I feel shows how loving we are, my brothers and I. I had worn this top that went on like a tube top – yes, there were sleeves of some sort, or else a sweater that I wore over it, but it went on like a tube top. However, it wasn’t the usual stretchy material of tube tops, but rather a somewhat set-size material with elastic around the top piece to help it stay in place. (I’m almost certain that it had wide-ish straps, but nothing like actual sleeves to it. I remember specifically that I had to wear a strapless bra with it, because of the strap situation, but that is all of which I am certain about the straps – strapless bra required.)
When I went to remove my top, changing out of the nicer clothes and into comfy, regular clothes, I got myself stuck. You know the feeling… pulling it upward first, and, at the pivotal point, feeling the fabric stop sliding and suddenly hold tightly to the width of your currently-expanded shoulder blades… and being incapable of pulling the top back down, because your arms are now stuck up in the air, because the fabric really just doesn’t give almost at all.
So, what could I do but get help? I remember having the slight concern of going to my brother for help, because he would see my bra! my thoughts shouted in whispered tones. It took almost no time to accept the social standard as just that, and then to let it go. I was beginning to panic at being stuck, when I was walking back out into the living room for help from my brother. He easily stopped immediately what he was doing, and came to the rescue. I think it might have actually taken us a good bit of effort to free me, but we eventually succeeded, and I was grateful for his help.
And, what is amazing about this, really, is that neither of us was uncomfortable with the situation. Sure, it was an odd situation – I was already at the point of having been able to dress myself alone successfully for years. But it was still easy for us both, because of our love and care for one another.
As another brief anecdote, I remember a time my oldest brother was babysitting me, and I went to use my mom’s rounded brush, typically used for curling hair while blowdrying, to brush my hair. I did it in a sort of hurry, and somehow twisted the brush while it still had my hair running through it (I had long hair at the time), and began brushing a new spot on my head… ultimately knotting a big chunk of my hair into the brush.
My brother was able to reach my mom on the phone, and she said to check with the neighbors, because the mother there might be able to help unknot my hair. A good, long while later, the neighbor was convinced that my hair had to be cut, in order to remove the brush. I remember my mom’s voice on the phone declaring, “Do not cut her hair,” to my brother. I think it took over an hour, possibly longer, and I don’t remember who finally did it (though my brother, the neighbor, and I all worked on it at times, and my mom might even have had to finish it up when she got home later), but my hair eventually was freed. And I was concerned about ever using that kind of brush in my hair again.
You know, I think those were the worst that ever really happened when my brothers were in charge of babysitting… not bad, I think. 🙂