When I was three years old, my life was changed when another human being entered it permanently in the role of 'sibling.'
It was my sister, Doobird.
You know all those parent manuals that tell parents to make sure that, when an addition to the family is made, that the older child feels just as important and loved as the newest one?
Yeah, my parents did that.
You know how those same manuals say to make the older child feel special and lucky to be the big sister when a new baby comes along?
Yeah, my parents did that, too.
You know how, again, those manuals said that doing the above will help that older sibling cope with the fact that now they have to share their parents attention and love and will lovingly accept and appreciate having this new baby around?
My parents divorced when I was 4 and my sister was barely 1 years old. I don't want to spew into volumes on how this affected both of us, but, to cut to the chase, lets just say it did.
My parents were mature enough to understand that, in order for Doobird and I to grow into the healthy individuals that we are today, they would have to have joint custody of us.
It first started out that every other day we'd go between Mom and Dad's house. Mondays- Dad. Tuesday- Mom. Wednesday- Dad. Thursday- Mom. Friday- Dad. Saturday- Mom. Sunday - Dad.
Yeah. We were ping-ponged back and forth for the first year of Doobirds life.
Needless to say, it was difficult. When you're 4 years old, you don't really understand why Mom and Dad don't love each other anymore and you don't really understand why you have to sleep on a fold out sofa when you're at Dad's house and you don't really understand why Mom cries in the middle of making supper and you don't really understand why Mom and Dad feel it's okay to have a screaming match in the driveway in front of the neighbors.
What you do understand is that this baby constantly cries. You do understand that you're not allowed to watch Tom & Jerry because it gives this baby nightmares. You do understand that everyone thinks that this baby is cute. You do understand that this baby is going to be around for a really, really, really, long time. You totally understand this.
It was hard. It was really really hard.
Dad started dating SpicN'Span shortly after the divorce. SpicN'Span was young, had long hair, had long nails, was a ballet dancer and had never really been around children very much.
Mom and Dad realized that this ping ponging back and forth wasn't really working, mostly because a 4 year old lugging a suitcase back and forth as well as having to remember who last fed the 1 year old got to be too hard.
The schedule changed. Doobird and I spent Mondays and Tuesdays with Dad. Wednesdays and Thursdays with Mom. They would then alternate who got us on the weekends.
Dad married SpicN'Span when I was 6 and Doobird was 3.
This began the bonding process between sisters- or so I felt.
I don't want to say that SpicN'Span was an awful human being. She wasn't. She was young. She was in love with our Dad. She had to accept us and try to be a parental figure to us- all at the young age of 26.
But, damn. She could be a bitch sometimes.
Doobird and I had to share a room. Bunk beds. A bright yellow paint that we didn't get to choose engulfed our walls. We were forced to wear clothes that SpicN'Span bought for us (Lycra was a favorite fabric choice). There was a calandar on the wall that kept track of if we made our beds every morning. We would be told that we couldn't go outside and play until we made our room and bathroom "Spic N' Span." When we would mess up on any orders we were given a speech that always began with a sing-songy "Damn yoooou."
And I resented her. It's almost as if all the resentment I had harbored for Doobird was transferred to SpicN'Span.
Doobird became a companion to me. She was a constant in my life. Since we'd both go back and forth between houses, our environments would change, but our presence with one another was a stability.
Yeah, I'd have to wear Lycra at Dad's house- but so would Doobird.
Yep- Mom would ask me how many pubic hairs I had, but she would ask Doobird, too. ("2? 20? 200?" "MOM!" "What? I made those pubic hairs..")
As I grew older, I seemed to realize that this sibling thing wasn't really such a shabby set-up.
We'd have lip sync contests- me choosing Weird Al yankovich, Doobird choosing "Shake Your Booty." Sometimes we'd choose the same song just to see who could do it better.
We'd make movies together- ahh, the "Super Sister" trilogy was a masterpiece, not to be compared with the singing pig faces or the mock keyboard recital consisting of us just pressing Demo and pretending like we were musak geniuses.
We'd make discoveries together- if you hold the "B" button down for 9 seconds while on level 2 of Super Mario Brothers, you'd fall behind the scenery and could just run thru the whole level. If you accidentally shat your pants when farting, all you have to do is hide the offending panties in a toilet paper tube so it'll be thrown away by Charlotte later. ("Dayum- these lil' white girls done shat their pants again.")If you wait for parents to go to bed, you can get up and play Chinese checkers for as long as you like. If you put your brother in a laundry basket and run it around the room, he'll think you're the coolest. If you don't feed the Hamster or clean its cage out on a regular basis- it will die. Hm.
I don't want to give the impression that we were the fucking Engle sisters.
I was a complete and total bitch to Doobird sometimes.
I used to make her pay me for affection. ("I'll give you a hug and a kiss if you give me a quarter.")
I used to call her fat and make fun of the horrendous dental machine she had to wear on her face to correct her jaw.
I used to hit her. I used to punch her. I used to pinch her. I used to scratch her. I used to fucking beat the shit out of her.
I would not include her when I knew she wanted to be included while playing with my friends.
I was awful. Incredibly awful.
But Doobird has this amazing ability to constantly give and love. She also has this ability to pout and cry and let you know that you've hurt her feelings- so much that at times I would lie awake in my bed and just cry because I felt so guilty for being awful to her.
But Doobird knew I loved her. Doobird knew that I just had this uncanny ability to be a bitch filled with love. Doobird knew that, whenever she needed me, I would be there.
And I was.
And she was there for me, too.
There was this one decoration that SpicN'Span had hung in our bathroom that said "Sisters are forever friends."
Many times I'd be sitting on the toilet, fuming at something Doobird had just said or done, and I'd look at that piece of needlepoint crap and say to myself, "Whatever."
Now that I'm older and she's older- I really know that this is true.
I love talking to her on the phone. I love the fact that we can talk to each other like we're crack whores and make fun of each other's quirks and personalities. I love that we can confide in each other about how a parent or a boyfriend hurt our feelings or how life completely sucks sometimes. I love that she understands my sense of humor completely and knows when I'm drunk or tells me that I need to quit smoking or uses catch phrases from our childhood at the most appropriate times. ("Ladeeleroy, what do I do!??! What do I do?!?!"- from a childhood shatting experience.)
Doobird is one of the most important people in my life. I love her so very much. I am so lucky to have her.
She's such a bitch.
Love you Doobird.
Your older and cuter sister.