It’s National Siblings Day. All day, I’ve ached with missing Kate, but I have PJ and my brother, Bud, so I’m not feeling at all sibling-less–just less-siblinged, I guess. That’s all of four plus an assortment of kids, spouses, partners, etc.
When we were kids, our dad left us–I actually remember that day clearly even though I was only 6 years old at the time. But I’m not going to think about him, except to say that I think it may have made us closer as kids to only have Mom. She was so busy when he first left, going to school and working full time to keep food on our table, that it fell to PJ, who was about 12 and Kate who was 10 to be surrogate parents to Bud and I. They were the “big kids” and Bud and I were the “little kids.”
PJ cooked and cleaned and Kate was her trusty assistant. One time, a couple of years after Dad left, Mom decided that it was time for Bud and I to stop sharing a room. So she moved me into a twin bed in PJ and Kate’s bedroom in our tiny ranch house. I remember being sad that I had to leave the bunk beds, but still kinda pleased that I got to share a room with the “big kids.” The girls made room in their closet for my rather paltry wardrobe and gave me the bottom drawer of the dresser for clothes that didn’t hang. My Barbie doll and other toys found a home in the corner by my new bed because I learned very quickly that PJ hated tripping on “little girl toys” when she came into the bedroom.
Bed-making was kinda haphazard in our house. Bud’s rarely got made because he went back and forth between the upper and lower bunks after I got evicted and he never saw the point, I guess. PJ and Kate made theirs when the mood struck, but once Mom taught us how to do “hospital corners,” Kate got more vigilant. One day, Kate tried to teach me. Now, I’m 8 years old and my little hands can barely shake out a sheet, and yet, she sat there for the better part of an hour patiently showing me how to fold the triangles and do the tucking. Then she showed me how to bounce a quarter off the super-tight sheets, which I thought was the rockingest thing ever. She even gave me her quarter when I mastered it, so I could show off to Mom when she got home from work that night. Kate let me take all the bed-making glory that day…
Know what? I still make my bed with hospital corners.