I am the middle child of three kids. (Big sigh for the forgotten middle children.) My sister is four years younger than I am and my brother is two years older–identical to the age gap of Charlie, Chanelle, and Meadow. My brother, sister and I had what I would call a “typical” sibling relationship. You know, one day we were best friends, the next day we were threatening to kill each other.
Okay, not really. Well, maybe, sort of.
Relentless teasing, bickering, and picking were par for the course. It was a way of life–especially between my brother and I. My brother knew what buttons to push to get a reaction from me and he played the game well. More often than not, I reacted in the most appropriate adolescent ways– yelling, screaming, crying, and tattling.
(Certainly, our parents were so, so proud.)
The funny thing about sibling relationships, though, is that they exist with their own set of rules. They are rules special to the sibling relationship. (Okay, maybe not all, but I would venture to say most sibling relationships.) The number one rule with brothers and sisters is this: it’s fine to pick on each other, but no one better dare pick on one us. Like it was yesterday, I remember my brother going nose to nose with a boy who dared say something negative about his sister (me)–even if he had said the very same thing (or worse) just hours before.
The rule isn’t written down, it’s more inherent. It is unspoken and, in many sibling relationships, strictly followed. It’s a rule for which I am very grateful.
Interestingly, just this weekend, I found a variation of this rule.
It happened when we went to my Dad’s house to make his annual birthday dinner. Each year, my sister and I have great intentions when we plan these dinners. My mom used to make sure my Dad always had a special birthday dinner and so we’ve wanted to carry on that tradition ourselves. It’s a nice thought, right?
Most years, it really is the thought that counts, because, inevitably, something goes wrong.
I was flipping through a Taste of Homes magazine and planning the menu for my Dad’s birthday dinner when I happened upon a picture of this cake. . .
I thought it would be a lovely and scrumptious finale’ to my Dad’s dinner. It looked pretty simple to make, so I purchased the needed ingredients and took them to my Dad’s house.
On his birthday, it was just my Dad and I in the kitchen as I was pulling the cake together. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that this was not going to be very pretty. I laughed as I pulled one crumbling cake onto the other and then, with my Dad’s help, attempted to glop the icing on top. I kind of went at it like icing was glue, in an attempt to stick falling pieces of cake back onto the crumbling cake.
My gracious Dad tried to reassure me, it’s fine. . . but I laughed as I carried it to the fridge and mentioned Ashley’s not going to ask me to take care of the meal again.
It was at that moment that my sister walked around the corner and asked what I was talking about. I laughed as she made her way to the refrigerator. My ears were promptly met with a booming, hearty, laugh from deep within her gut. My sister looked at my cake failure and laughed and laughed and laughed. . .
My sister, dad, and I sat at the kitchen table and continued our laughter while my sister made me a little gift. . .
The bottom cake? Yep, that’s mine.
(Chanelle said it looked beautiful–symptomatic of “middle child syndrome. (Or a very sweet heart))
The thing is, my sister made sure not to share this on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media site. (Though I know she wanted to.) She understands the second unspoken rule of sibling relationships which is this: A sibling can publicly make fun of themselves–but one siblings must not publicly humiliate another sibling.
I appreciate her holding to that, because I need a chance to say–at least it tasted good. (It really was.) Or I have to have the opportunity to explain that this beautiful cake provided entertainment for the whole family for the entire afternoon and evening. Seriously, as faithful as that little light is to turn on with each opening of the fridge, so was the burst of laughter that came each time the door was opened.
I’d say that is far better than a beautifully made cake.
(Mom would be so proud.)
“Editor’s” note: It really was good. She nailed the flavor profile, but her presentation, well… (Chad)
Meadow and I leave for Florida today and hopefully will avoid another NYC experience upon our return. Before we go, a few moments from our week. . .
We had another snow day. . .
Snow days are a constant rotation of in and out. . .
In. . .
Out. . .
In. . .
The cold months are moving by far too slowly. Meadow and I do everything we can to pass the time. . .
Play-doh. . .
Drinking games. . .
There is nothing better. . .
|They wanted to see how much they weigh together|
Someday, when my kids look back at this blog, I hope that they see how important it is to be able to laugh at themselves. Honestly, I think it’s one of life’s most important lessons.