You know, it wasn’t always easy growing up as the youngest, and only girl in the family. My brother CJ is 8 years older than me, and my brother Barry is 5 years older. They called me Brat for so long I thought that was my actual name. To this day CJ still refers to me as Major Moron; he likes the alliteration. Sadly, I’m so used to it I actually respond to that name. I like to think of it now as a term of endearment.
I can’t really tell you if all the merciless teasing and pranking affected my personality, except to say that I am just a tad neurotic. But I don’t want my brothers to feel guilty for making me crazy or ruining my life or anything, so enough said.
As is typical with the youngest in the family, while there are hundreds of baby pictures of CJ, and dozens of Barry, there are only about three baby pictures of me. There I was as an infant, and then about a year old, and the next thing you know it’s my first day of kindergarten. According to the baby picture I do have, I was definitely chubby and bald. That is how I earned my other family nickname, Uncle Fester, from the Addams Family.
Apparently my parents desperately wanted to put a light bulb in my mouth for a photo op, but thankfully that was nixed as possibly dangerous. Sweet, right?
Most of the stories I heard while growing up were about amazing things that happened before I was born. My dad was stationed at an Air Force base in Illinois, and everyone talked about all the snow and the forts and the friends they had there. From what I heard, everything was much, much better in Illinois. But my family moved back to the DC area after my dad left the Air Force, and I came along after all the fun.
Sometimes my brothers would let me play with them, but all they ever wanted to do was boy stuff. They used to build forts out of sleeping bags and blankets, but I thought the appropriate thing to do in a fort was play Barbies…so I usually got kicked out pretty quickly. Once I learned to ride a bike they would let me ride behind them, but I wasn’t allowed to talk or anything. I jumped at the chance to ride on the handlebars of Barry’s bike, but it kind of got ugly when we came flying downhill. So happy he was amused as my life flashed before my eyes.
I guess I wasn’t without blame either. The only power I had was information, and I was quite the tattle tale. When I stumbled upon Barry and his friends playing poker, I couldn’t wait to tell my mom that Barry was gambling! With money! She went to check out the situation and I couldn’t wait for her to break up the high stakes card game. Yet all I heard was laughing. My mom came back and informed me that while penny ante poker is technically gambling for money, Barry wasn’t doing anything wrong. The next thing you know, I’m in trouble for tattling! It was a cruel, cruel world.
Bygones, right? Well, some habits die hard. A few years ago I was in a toy store with CJ and he was playing with some puppets. I was minding my own business when, thwack! The puppet slapped me right on the cheek. When I turned around I couldn’t tell how the puppet was operated, so like an idiot I said “how did you do that?” Thwack! Thwack! I had to laugh at myself, although CJ didn’t have to laugh at me quite so much. It was a pretty classic brother/sister scene…if we had been 10.