Little siblings

I never had little siblings, younger brothers or sisters… I was the baby of many, and by a bit.

My eldest sister would be mistaken as my mother whenever we would go out places… eleven and a half years difference can do that.

And so, I grew up learning loads of things not to do, loads of mistakes not to bother making, because at least one of my older siblings did that thing, made that mistake, and I learned the result long before I might have considered doing any of it myself.

Therefore, I’ve always struggled to understand what it could be like, having your younger sister in grammar school or still in high school… going to their terrible school performances or sports games… my siblings were all older by a good amount, so their performances and games were always awesome to me – in my child mind, they could have been pro compared to my own performances or games at the same time.

Tonight, I ran into two old classmates who were attending the art show of their little sister… and it reminded me that people actually do that, come back to the high school because of the younger sibling… I’d forgotten.

I’d thought people only really returned to visit for themselves, see old teachers and new buildings… that sort of thing… or to work there.

As I pondered how odd that idea feels, I suddenly recalled that I actually can relate a little bit.

You see, it’s almost like I have a borrowed younger sister.

My best friend lives in England, but her youngest sister lives in Houston, and she’s in high school right now.

Though I mostly am at the school for work purposes, I occasionally arrange my schedule around seeing her or spending time with her.

For the art show tonight, I had already planned to attend it, because it is always amazing.

However, I also knew that she would be performing in it, and so made sure to arrange accordingly to be there when she performed.

I always record her performance, and send it to her sister, who, naturally, is too far to make the trip for a short little performance every time.

So, in a way, I have a borrowed little sister: my best friend’s little sister.

It’s not exactly the same as her being my real sister, because I’d have attended loads more of her events and such…, but it has enough similarities for me to be able, ever so slightly, to relate to those who have younger siblings.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

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Memories

My cousin and I were talking tonight about old, old memories in our lives.

Growing up, I had a situation that was incredibly unique at the time (and that still is a bit unique nowadays), in which my parents each had children from a previous spouse, only had me together, married when I was three, and divorced one another when I was four.

My siblings on my mom’s side not only lived in the same neighborhood as I did, but my mom and I were regularly at their dad’s house, spending time with them and, even, their dad, who was my mom’s first husband, but with whom my mom was no longer involved in such a relationship.

My siblings on my dad’s side moved to Georgia (until they kind of moved back, off and on, one by one, starting when I was about nine), and so were only around for certain holidays and for what I guess to have been about a month each summer.

My cousin pointed out that she remembered being often at the place my mom and I lived for many years together after she split up from my dad, the one that was in the neighborhood with my brothers and their dad.

I, too, recalled that they often were there visiting us, and we often were at their house (two hours away, by the way) visiting them.

She then presented the interesting and confounding concept of accepting the idea of someone seeing one’s cousins more often than seeing one’s own siblings…, because that’s really how it was in the first decade and a half of my life, so far as my mom’s sister’s children and my dad’s children were concerned.

I have many more memories from earlier childhood with those cousins than I do with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Certainly, I saw my brothers from my mom all the time, almost daily…, but my cousins were, as I can pull up old school activities and projects to show, some of my favorite people in the world, and they were often on my mind, because I saw them often…, such was not the case with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Sure, I cared about them, and I had spectacular memories from the brief time we all spent in the same house when my parents were married to one another, but I really think we could say that I had more a relationship with and attitude towards them that people have with cousins, rather than one with siblings.

So, my half brothers were like my brothers, my cousins were like my half siblings, and my other half siblings were like my cousins… relationship- and attitude-wise, anyway.

Kind of crazy, huh?

I hadn’t really ever thought much about it, because, as my cousin also pointed out tonight, it can be amazing what kinds of things we just accept as children, not concerned in the least about whether they are uncommon or absurd.

I guess the absurdity doesn’t surprise me, of course, because, well, even now, absurd is normal in my life, as this same cousin so graciously pointed out to me a few years ago. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

My brother’s birthday

Today was the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

Today also was my brother’s birthday.

It was wonderful – I got to devote almost my entire day to delighting, empowering, and loving someone else, and it happened to be someone who openly appreciated it all and who truly experienced the love from all of us around him.

I’m not so sure there is much of a better feeling to be had than that…

Perhaps this could be something I organize doing more often, and not merely for special occasions… it is just so wonderful.

Post-a-day 2018

Towels and Conversations

In my first year of college, whenever I’d have an evening shower, I usually would end up down the hall afterward.  The social and clearly labeled “extrovert” end of the hall was always booming when the girls were in, and I always would go down to check in when I heard the chatter.  (I had been assigned the introvert end of the hallway, and, somewhat ironically, I was the only one in the hallway who knew everyone else.  I just like to get to know the people around me, and so college was no exception to that.)  This meant that, come evening time on weekdays, I would spend some portion of the time down the hall, socializing, so to speak.

And, as mentioned, this included the time immediately following my evening showers.  And so, I would be hanging out down the hall, hair wrapped in one towel and body in another, both holding tightly, as though sewn into place.  Totally normal for me.

One night, one of the most outgoing girls asked me about how on Earth I can be so comfortable in just a towel… Wasn’t I worried it would fall off?… Or that I was naked underneath???  No, not at all, I told her.  And I explained why I wasn’t.  First, we were all girls, so I saw no issue anyway (though I had no intention of anyone seeing anything under the towel).  Secondly, I grew up with older sisters who had seemed to spend a third of their time at home (when in college) walking around in a towel or two, and so it was very normal for me.  And, from a very young age, I had learned their tricks of how to make the towel stay in place, and, naturally, I had mastered it by college.  So, it never seemed dangerous for me to be hanging out down the hall  – this was after the curfew when boys had already been kicked out, mind you – in a towel.  It was like hanging out in almost any other clothing.

She had trouble believing that the towel was stuck, and so I even did a little shaking around to show how it wouldn’t fall off.  Nevertheless, she still was terrified of ever doing such a thing herself, and I was amazed that this towel tying trick wasn’t common knowledge or part of common use.  I think I even showed them right then and there how I tied the towel (without opening it, of course).  These were the girls who talked about just about everything with one another, quite openly, and yet they were somehow terrified at the thought of showing their bodies to one another.  I still have a certain shyness about my body, but, in certain contexts, it’s very so what to me.  Like in onsen, the Japanese hot baths, it is absolutely no big deal to show my body and to see other women’s bodies.  And in theatre, for costume changes, it happens sometimes… oh, well… it’s no issue.  It just happens.

To this day – last time was Friday evening – I still walk around in my towel and chat comfortably with people after I shower.  My high school ‘big sister’ was known for always saying, in response to a compliment about her clothing, “I’m naked under this.”  The initial shock always wore away when, after a few moments of consideration, the listener realized that we all were naked underneath whatever outfit we were wearing – that’s kind of how it works when you put something on in the first place.  For me, there is little difference between clothing and a towel.  Plenty of people regularly don’t wear underwear, and men don’t wear bras, so we’re just as naked under a towel as we are under most clothing.  (It’s just what in our minds that messes with us and makes us uncomfortable.)  That’s why, even when I’d shower in college, and a guy would be in the hallway when I was heading back to my room in just a towel, I was unconcerned.  I’d even talk with them, if I knew them.  It seems that, if they were concerned about talking with me, they could always excuse themselves and leave.  That’s what my friends and I would do if we had an issue with a guy in only a towel.  (But that really isn’t much of an issue to me, mostly too due to my upbringing with older siblings.)

(I somehow feel harsh or demanding with all of that…, but I didn’t mean to be; not in the least.  People can always do as they prefer – I’m just sharing why I am so comfortable in such a silly situation, and why I see it a totally normal, despite its being totally awkward for plenty of people.  I mean, my ukulele teacher is someone I met when we both were bathing in an onsen, naked, of course.) 😛

Post-a-day 2018

What happened today

I got out of bed at 3:45am, and met my friend outside at about 4:10am to drive to the airport.

I flew in an airplane to Chicago, where I met my cousins and then drove to Wisconsin.

We met with my brother and his friend at Devil’s Lake, and then hiked about six miles together around the lake.

We admired willingly the spectacular and deep-breathing-inspiring colors of the Fall, and awed at a Bald Eagle who flew over the lake for a bit.

We checked into our joined suite rooms, and then dunes down the street at an all-you-can-eat Mongolian stir-fry place, each eating more than we’d intended.

We gathered in the joined living area of the suite rooms, sipped digestifs, chatted about nonsense, played ukulele, practiced/learned some yoga and some acro-yoga, talked about nerd stuff, joked about my brother’s classmates back in college who argued about some terms in calculus, cracked up when my cousins began to argue about those terms in calculus, and consciously enjoyed our collective company.

I chatted more with my brother as he prepared for bed and I, unknowingly, was locked out of my room.

We laughed, and, eventually, I gained access back into my room with my cousins.

My cousin and I listened to voicemails from our grandparents, filled with wholesome delight.

I took the first good shower I’ve had in months (since the one where I’m living has been quite the nonsensical mess since I moved in there), and reminisced about Japanese onsen while I untangled a crazy knot in my extremely long hair.

I earned another badge in my Fitbit, because I walked over 22,000 steps today.

I stayed awake and in a good mood for over 19 hours.

I breathed easily almost the entire day, for the first time in a long while (it has felt, anyway).

I was myself, and so were the others, and we were spectacular.

I and we did good today, both grammatically correctly and incorrectly. 😉

Post-a-day 2018

Work your nerd

I found out today that my brother had felt unease about his nerdy knowledge on various topics.  Quite frankly, I had always admired him for said nerdiness.  Whenever he was interested in a topic, he’d do what he could to learn as much as possible in a short period of time.  And then, if it was something that he really enjoyed, how continued to learn about it in the years that followed, becoming ever more the genius on the topic.  Possibly the best part of it to me was that these often were topics that had almost nothing to do with his work or schooling – it was purely things that interested him.  Nowadays, he is still the same about it all, though he definitely has certain topics on which he could be considered an expert after so many years and hours of study and work dedicated to them.

I guess, growing up, I just didn’t know his world of friends and classmates and, eventually, colleagues, because I was so much younger than he was.  I had no idea that they didn’t know about his nerdy areas in his life, too.  They apparently only knew about his cool, chic, sporty side (from what I understand now).  He, it seems, was afraid of being rejected for his knowledge and studies.  Now, though, he has begun to embrace his nerdiness, and publicly so (think social media, etc.), and he has been discovering how much respect exactly that aspect of him; especially since he is cool, chic, and sporty, but loves knowledge and nerding out over certain things.  He is discovering that he had no need to be insecure about his interests and knowledge.  Plus, despite the fact that the public has been responding really well to his nerd side’s being exposed, he already knew that it doesn’t really matter what other people think of him anyway – that’s their own business, not his.  What matters is what he thinks about himself.  If he is happy with who he is, then there is no reason not to express that in his life.  So, he started finally expressing himself, nerdiness included.  Now that he has been doing that, he has also found that people are grateful to him for sharing himself and his passions with the world.  Super duper win-win, I say.  And I am proud of him doubly, for keeping up the nerdy knowledge, and now for sharing it with the world.  🙂

Post-a-day 2018

How do You shave?

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is the time my brother, sister, and I bonded over shaving legs in the living room.  You see, our dad’s house used to be a duplex, and so the upstairs and downstairs had the same floorpan, giving the girls – the upstairs lots – our very own living room.  It was normal circumstances for us girls and maybe a girlfriend of one of theirs to hang out on lazy afternoons and evenings there.  Occasionally, our bother would join us.  On one particular night, my eldest sister had decided to allow me to shave her legs for her, while we watched some television show.  I was around eight or ten years old.

In my panic of doing it, worried that I would slice open her leg or something, my brother joined in on the adventure, to show that it was definitely doable by me, since he had never shaved legs, but he was able to do it safely.  And so, he shaved her left leg, and I shaved her right, while she lay on the rug in the living room.  Such beautiful sibling bonding time.  😛

Post-a-day 2018