My daughters are getting along…finally. To say I thought this day would never in a million light years in a galaxy far, far away ever come to pass, would be putting it mildly. Day in, day out, since the dawn of Thing Two, the claws have been drawn and the knives out. For the sake of brevity, you’d have more chance of finding Elvis alive, well and walkin’ in Memphis, than to dream these two stubborn sistas would ever bury the hatchet.
So one day, out of the blue suede shoes (sorry, I couldn’t resist), Thing One offered to help Thing Two with that dreaded debauchery they call long division, and she didn’t get a door slammed in her face or have to utter another crestfallen “do you want to build a snowman.” A part of me couldn’t help but think they’d been drugged.
Was there something in the water? Were they ill? Was there perhaps some sort of ulterior motive? A cash prize or offshore money laundering that I wasn’t made aware of? But there they sat, side by side, my older daughter speaking what might as well have been ancient Norse while my younger sat attentively, pencil poised, nodding and smiling like suddenly math was wonderful, Middlebrook was wonderful, homework, a welcome retreat … a game of numbers all along … long division, who knew!
And so the evening progressed like a Frozen-inspired episode of “The Twilight Zone” with more amicable exchanges, fervent nodding and congenial compliments containing but not limited to, “No way!” and “Did she really?” and “OMG girl, you got this,” until finally they returned to Arendelle or their prospective bedrooms and called it a night.
And then came the morning. And it was like none of it had ever happened.
Someone had stolen someone else’s hairbrush. (Good thing it wasn’t her boyfriend). The item in question was gone, missing but she knew she took it. She took everything … hairbrushes, hoodies, half of her future inheritance which roughly amounts to $1.50 and a stick of gum. They glared, they sulked, hair went unbrushed and snowmen unmade.
“I know you took my hairbrush,” my older daughter snapped. “Just admit that you took it, okay?”
They were standing at the kitchen island, just a box of Lucky Charms between them but nothing about this was magically delicious as it was maddeningly exasperating and we literally had to be out the door five minutes ago.
My younger daughter lowered her gaze, her eyes turning a dark shade of gray. “I’ll admit to nothing,” she said finally, exiting Stage Left with great flourish, the box of Lucky Charms and for sure, the hairbrush.
And then there was silence. They didn’t talk. They didn’t look at each other … for a full five minutes.
And then: “Cute jeans, girl.”
Thing One beamed, the hairbrush hair raiser hardly a memory now, “Hey thanks, girl. Totally thrifted.”
“So fetch!” I chimed in and they both just stopped and stared and shook their heads in dismay or disgust or maybe both and then my younger daughter got this awful look on her face, like she might hurl those Lucky Charms all over the counter. “I’m so sad for you,” she said finally.
Here’s the kicker, I always wanted a sister, almost as much as I always wanted to be the cool girl but was never going to pull off “fetch” or offshore laundering and so spent the better part of my childhood inventing elaborate stories and talking to myself and yes, I’m very aware as I’m writing this, not much has changed.
I think my parents must have felt sorry for me and in some sort of effort to alleviate their guilt and appease my incessant nagging, sponsored a young girl from Botswana through Save the Children. That Christmas before I turned nine, they presented me with a photo along with a packet of information on my new “sister”.
I wasn’t the brightest bulb. And clearly I could not contain my excitement because I immediately delivered the good news to my teacher and third grade class (re: Show and Tell 1989) that my parents had not only given me a new cassette player but also a sister who happened to live in Boise, (very far away, in this country called Idaho) and so we weren’t allowed to see her, just write letters to Steal the Children and, oh by the way, my mom and dad paid a lot of money for her.
I guess all things considered, invented or elaborated on, it was probably best they stopped at one. I was never really good at the sharing thing and building snowmen? Isn’t it just kinda overrated?
So anyway, I decided this year for Hanukkah I wasn’t going to drive myself crazy with eight crazy nights of more material possessions they would likely forget about five minutes after opening but more useful, practical gifts; things they use everyday.
“You got us hairbrushes?” Thing Two whines. “Seriously? What are you trying to say?” She eyes my older daughter like, are you with me on this and Thing Two concedes. Then they both break into some spontaneous rendition of a song I’ve never heard of because I’m so old and can’t bring “fetch” back but it’s the gift that keeps on giving because my daughters are getting along … finally.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.