Easter and the Eyeball Story

April 2, 2013

Prepare for a total ADHD post, but hey–that’s the beauty of Just Write. Sometimes, I think Just Write is the only thing getting my old engine starting.

 

My husband and I are heathens, but we celebrate Easter anyways. The Minxes don’t even care about the candy, except for a few morning nibbles of chocolate bunnies. For them, it’s all about the egg hunt.

Miss M. is The Rooster, and true to her nature, she rises at 6:15 am on Sunday. Luckily, I woke at 5:30 and hid the bounty. I move thick-stockinged feet to meet her at the bottom of the stairway, open-armed. She’s getting so tall, and less eager for morning cuddles–she used to launch herself into my waiting grasp–but her body still softens and melts when I lift her. Her cheeks are ruddy from sleep and it makes me smile, this evidence of Irish in an Indian girl.

Immediately, she spies an egg. “Egg!” she hollers, and I whisper that it is Holy Swear Jar Early. Soft voice.

She demands French toast and Spongebob. And then the wait begins. Every ten minutes, she wanders into the study, asking, “Is D. up yet? Can we start the egg hunt?”  It’s hard to explain to her why this year is different; why her sister will most likely awaken at 8, an enternity from now. Puberty drains a girl dry.

When D. finally shambles down the stairs, M. does a little jig. “Egg hunt! Egg hunt! D., lets go find eggs, okay?”

“Dude. I just woke up. I’m starving. Later, okay?”

“But…?”

“S’okay bunnybunny,” I say. “Just let her have some apple and Nutella and then you can do the egg hunt.”

*every 20 seconds* “D., are you done? Are you done with your apples yet?” D. doesn’t even bother to respond. I shoot her a stink eye–shaky ground, moody one–and she acquiesces to the hunt.

Of course, it’s over in 15 minutes. Miss M. pleads for egg hunt round #2 but her sister again turns her back, feigning loss of hearing. I crouch down and give M. a chuck on the chin. “Maybe in a little bit, when our friends come over, okay?”

She doesn’t get it, this sudden change in the wind. Easter means six enthusiastic, sisterly egg hunts in a row. It’s been so for 6 years. It’s her truth–the only thing she’s known. She grabs a plush, vibrantly-colored stuffed animal and retreats to the playroom, sitting so close to her sister that she’s almost on her lap.

“Space!” D. barks, shooing her sister to the other corner of the couch.

I have to retreat to the laundry room for awhile after that one. It’s an old cut, newly opened.

I beg the universe to please deliver our friends soon, and she answers. Egg hunt. Trampoline. Ham and roasted potatoes and homemade rolls with butter. More trampoline.

M. opens the sliding glass door, tears sliding down her cheeks like tributaries. I scoop her gangly frame in my arms and carry her to the study. She shakes off my embrace; the collective impact of the day and the changes and the things she doesn’t understand are just too much to bear and I understand, but it stings.

She balls her fists and kicks a chair; an act I’ve seen her sister do many times, but not our soft-hearted M.

“How come everyone just wants to play with D.?” she cries, lips shaking like an earthquake. “Every time people come over, they just want to be around D. and do things with D. and nobody even knows I’m there.”

The anger suddenly drains out of her and she collapses into my arms. “Why does everybody like D. best?”

And dammit, she’s right. D. is the Pied Piper of children, full of dazzle and razzle and verve. It’s impossible to compare. Soft rain is always dwarfed by thunder. I spill over and look up and Mama’s leaning in the doorway, stricken. Mamaeyesmyeyeslittlegirleyes. We know.

A long time ago, I was that small girl, asking the same question.

And now, the answers and reassurances and kisses that I give her are the same hollow promises. “She’s just louder than you, not more lovable.” “It’s hard being the youngest, but you have gifts that shine just as brightly as D.’s” “You have lots of friends who love you for being you.”

The words feel both empty and unbearably heavy at the same time.

Still, those words at least dry the wave of tears and coax her back outside, Easter eggs in hand, game for another hunt.

***

This was a wrenching moment for me this week and I felt that I needed to write about it, but my Just Writes have been so bloated with angst and puberty woes and worry that I thought I’d share a little bit of funny with you today, too.

We need funny, right?

So I’ll tell you one of my favorite Mama stories. When I was little, I used to do some rather rotten things. One of those things, in particular, was to sneak into the bathroom when my grandpa Roll was napping and take his dentures out of the water glass, give them a good soaping, and plop them back in the water. Then I’d watch him smacksmacksmack around all afternoon and barely be able to contain my laughter.

Even my impish self knew this was unconscionable behavior, so I didn’t tell Mama about the soaping capers until grandpa Roll was long under the dirt. I must have been a teenager when I fessed up. To my shock, she began laughing hysterically.

“You don’t think that was really mean?” I said.

“Of course it’s mean and you shouldn’t have done it but when I was little, I did even worse.”

“Whaa?”

By now my mother was shaking with mirth. “See, my grandmother not only had false teeth, she had a glass eye, too. She had to take both things out when she slept. I soaped her teeth, too, which was fun, but I was fascinated by that dang glass eyeball. I’d sneak it out of her room and hide it somewhere in the house. My grandmother would come flying out of her bedroom, toothless and ticked as heck, yelling, “Who sshhtole mah eyebaawl?”

Mama, bless her. I beg her to tell that story at least twice a year and I always laugh so hard that I cry.

Happy Tuesday, Readers. I love y’all.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie April 2, 2013 at 8:41 am

As one of six girls, I lovelovelove when you write about the Minxes and their sisterly interactions. I’m not sure how old Miss M is, but it sounds like a similar age difference between me and my twin and our next older sister (5 1/2 years.) I totally remember that time period when she was developing pre-teen angst, and me and H (twin) were baffled. Tough time, mama. You’ll get ’em through it.

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Mr TKW April 2, 2013 at 8:41 am

This made me sad, too. I’m glad you at least had some words to comfort her. I was speechless.

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Abby April 2, 2013 at 8:48 am

Beautiful post, my friend. I’m obviously not a mom and can’t rely sage advice, but I think you just have to bite back the tears and let them work things out for themselves, the way sisters do. There are so many changes on so many levels that nobody knows what’s up and what’s down–other than emotion and moods as they change day to day (and minute to minute, let’s be honest.)

At least both your girls know you’re there for them, whether they like it or not, and you’ll all get through this together. Love ya, Kitch.

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Abby April 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

“relay” not “rely” ugh.

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Katybeth April 2, 2013 at 9:04 am

It hurts. Cole my 17 year, told me on Easter eve while we were dying eggs (which we do every year) how much he missed his dad, and how he feels like he has forgotten so much about him. As much as it hurts, we talk, and it seems to help. However, he recovers much quicker than I do– I think they soak in much of what we say and believe most of what we tell them–even when they fight it. At least that is my experience.
Love the soap story better, yet was your Mom’s follow up story.
Hey has this crossed your Facebook/Twitter yet, “I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy, to be told instead she has leadership skills.” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook

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Katybeth April 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

Add the comma after better ^ and it will make better sense. . .Sheesh.

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TKW April 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Katybeth,
Hug that boy tight. I love you.

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Shannon April 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

This same thing happened with my oldest daughter and my son. They were always such playmates when they were little – partners in crime. Then puberty hit and he suddenly became gross and annoying to her, but yet he still looked up to her and wanted to always stand in her glow. Now they are both teenagers, and, while he still looks up to her emotionally, she now has to peer her eyes upward to meet his. They take walks and confide in each other. She still thinks he’s a little gross, but let’s face it, he’s an almost 14 year old boy, so he kinda is. But when she came home from a Spring Break volunteer trip last week, she hugged him and said “Missed you, bro.” Progress has been made in my house, and it will be made in yours, too. Just a little hump to get over first.
Sorry for the long comment. This post struck me just right, I guess.
And I love your Mama.

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TKW April 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

I hope this “my sister is annoying” phase passes SOON. Thanks for your encouraging words.

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Stacia April 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

I’m soft rain, too. I like to think we quiet ones linger and soothe souls. And if not, we can always steal eyeballs.

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TKW April 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

Stacia,
After she told me that story, I’ve always wanted to get my hands on an eyeball one day…

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Arnebya April 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm

You had words for her, that’s what counts, and that’s what she’ll remember. What Mama remembers about your feeling the same, and what you remember about your feeling the same, will not be what she remembers. She will remember that you at least comforted her, had words to soothe her, even though she doesn’t understand it right now. It is hard being the youngest. It is hard loving so hard on someone you used to feel that same love back from. It is hard trying to understand why someone changes, how it’s not your fault, and what you can do, if there’s anything you can do YOU ARE WILLING TO DO IT, to get that person back, to simply have her be who you thought she was just a few months ago. PUBERTY SUCKS ALL ASS. But it can’t be stopped. All we can do is guide and you know full damn well you are doing just that. And you’re doing it well. With both of them.

And then I laughed about an eyeball.

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TKW April 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm

How are you so wise?

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Jennifer April 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm

And I get to share a bed with her at BlogHer. Jealous?

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TKW April 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

No Swear Jar Way??????!!!! You bitches better have a cocktail in my honor while you are there.

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BigLittleWolf April 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I had an older sibling. Male, Cruel for the pleasure of it. Different dynamic altogether. Sometimes being a kid just sucks.

But you’re always there – for both of them. (Hugs to you for that.)

Now about that eyeball…OMG… Now we know where that P&V comes from!

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Biz April 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I think that’s the problem with having more than one child – you have to split who is smarter, funnier, etc.

Me? I had only one so she was the best at everything! :D

But your words were kind to Miss. M – it’s just hard growing up!

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Ami April 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Sister stuff is nuclear stuff. It either benefits and enriches your life to such a degree that you can’t even explain it, or it blows up in your face creating worldwide devastation.
Sometimes it can do both in the same day even. Here’s Internet hugs to all the injured parties.

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TKW April 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

Ami–nuclear is right. And yes, both can happen in a single day.

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Alison April 3, 2013 at 1:55 am

Being the little one can be so hard.
You’re a good Mama.
And I love your mother’s eyeball story!

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Katrina Kenison April 3, 2013 at 4:37 am

Love your three generations of vulnerability gathered there in the laundry room, the eyes that know and the hearts that break. Not ADHD at all, this post, just life as it grabs and shakes us.

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Liz April 3, 2013 at 6:59 am

I was the youngest, but it wasn’t so much that everyone “liked” my sister more; it was that I lived in her shadow because she was “the skinny one.” AND she was the “normal” one…as in, just like my parents. I hated it. I was certainly not quiet rain…I instead turned myself into a full blown hurricane to outshine her in the only ways I knew how: when she was ultra sexy, I was grunge. When she was all long hair and glamour, I was perky and cute. When she was conservative and accountant-like, I was creative and artsy and liberal.
Other than the hair she has recently lost from her chemo (painful irony?), it still is like that.
As a result of all this, I am ultra-protective (perhaps not so healthy either?) of my little one.
Long enough comment for ya? ;)

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TKW April 3, 2013 at 9:22 am

Liz,

I’m sorry about your sister–I had no idea. How is she?
I think it’s great that you wanted to carve out your own, different path.

As for being ultra-protective of the little one? I’m a gold medal contender.

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Robin April 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Hi Dana,

It has been a long time. After the holidays, I had the holiday blues and took a break. Just when I got ready to return, my class started, and we had to create blogs and websites, so I have been following 40 classmates for a while. But, it has almost ended (an accelerated course).

How I have missed your stories and your sense of humor! What a perfect day to stop by. I got two stories :) Yay!

Robin

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TKW April 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Hi Robin!

I am so glad to see you back! I’m sorry about the winter blues–I get them in spades–and it’s a long, hard crawl back out of the hole. My neighbor has several daffodils blooming now, and it makes me feel so much lighter. xoxo

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Jane April 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

When we were younger, the four of us sisters, I was the Pied Piper. I tried to involve my other sisters if any were left out, but secretly, I enjoyed the popularity. Now, I have three children and when my middle son is on the outskirts I stumble and stammer with words of comfort. As hollow as yours felt, I’m going to remember them for next time. They’re better than awkward hugs and stony silence.

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Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes April 4, 2013 at 5:39 am

Oh God, I’m an only child. How on earth am I going to deal with all the sister and puberty stuff… I have no past experiences to consult..
Better save you posts in a giant “how to deal with sister/puberty/girl” stuff.
And I’m glad I’m not the only one who played jokes with dentures (both grandparents had them, fun times…)

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TKW April 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Tinne,

Even as an only child, when it comes to your cubs, instinct will kick in. Promise.

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Jennifer April 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I laughed. I cried. I felt sorry for both of them. And you. And your mama. But you still both see the good and the funny, and she will too. I promise.

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TKW April 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Hide Arnebya’s eyeball at BlogHer! You know she’d cuss like a sailor. Alas, I think both of her eyeballs are intact.

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Jennifer April 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’ve pretty much given up on the idea that we will sleep those four days. I think we will be too busy laughing.

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TKW April 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

I can’t wait for the stories.

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faemom April 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

God, puberty is hard on a girl and her sister and her mama. As for me, I’m grateful at times I have boys. Until I read things about those teen boys in Ohio and I start thinking, “I will smack you upside the head if you make rape jokes; you *will* not be too big for me to beat you with in an inch of you life if you don’t come to the defense of a girl; god help you if you do something like that because your mama will not show mercy.” Of course I have similar rants over sagging pants, gay slurs, spitting, and being a dick. I am not looking forward to puberty.

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Tiffany April 9, 2013 at 9:33 am

Oh, little Miss M. I fear I was more like Miss D and my sister was always in my shadow…even if I didn’t think that shadow was worth a damn, it still had to be difficult. You should be VERY proud that Miss M is comfortable talking to you about these things. That’s bigger than you can even imagine.

And your Mama stories and stories from when you were little? I can’t get enough of them. Egads, an eyeball!!!!

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