Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Anna is my sister.  We are 19 months apart in age, and have been the very best (and worst) of friends.  She has the most beautiful thick, smooth brown hair (which I was always envious of), and a mild temperament beneath which hides the tenacity of a tiger.  She is incredibly brilliant when it comes to mathematics, logic, and problem solving.  Dad always makes her pack the car for trips, because of her uncanny knack of making all 50 pieces of luggage fit.

When we were very little (pre-elementary school), we spent most of our time together, either fighting or playing.  I'm sure we got on my mom's last nerve plenty of times with our bickering back and forth.  Then the wild would come into Mom's eyes, she'd pierce us both with a glare and say, calm as the air before a Texas thunderstorm, "Go to your room, and don't come out until you've worked it out."

Anna and I would march sullenly up to the room we shared, anger seething between us.  The line was drawn in the sand, and neither of us budged an inch.  This battle royal was a fight to the finish - somebody had to give in, and I was determined it wouldn't be me.  Anna sat on her bed, arms crossed, glowering at the floor.  I could tell she wasn't planning on giving in any time soon, either.

We sat there silently for a few minutes, each on our own bed.  I thought about the little creek we'd been building with the hose behind the house.  It beckoned me silently.  I looked up at my sister.  I could tell by the hard line of her eyebrows that she wasn't going to budge.  I sighed impatiently.  Really, this was a waste of a perfectly good day.  The sun was shining outside our window, the cedar trees broadcast their spicy aroma out over the hills, and our 'creek' called alluringly.  We had just been constructing a house beside it with sticks and leaves for our My-Little-Ponies.  I looked again at Anna.

I broke the silence.  "Look, neither of us is going to admit she was wrong.  And I want to go play.  Let's just pretend to make up so Mom will let us out."

"Fine."  My sister is mistress of packing a paragraph of meaning into one syllable.

We sauntered out of our room, and called, "Mom, we made up!  Can we go play now?"

A few minutes later, there we were by the creek constructing the My-Little-Pony house beside the dam in the creek.  Just like that.

I thought I was so slick, pulling the wool over my mom's eyes.  Now, looking at it with the fresh perspective of constant referee to my own kids, I realize that we really did learn the art of diplomacy and compromise in that stubborn standoff.  Yet one more thing that Mom was right about all along.

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