Us girls are all lazing about on the couches in the living room. None of us know what to do and we are starting to get restless, picking on each other and making unkindly noises. There is a bit of kicking and sauciness between us. Eleanor and I are usually in sync and pick on Melinda before each other because she is the youngest and smallest. Eleanor and I are more equals so we don’t want to take each other on right away. We do this unconsciously of course cause mother nature is smart and we are too young to know this outright.
Melinda starts to whine. Not to get aid from mom in the kitchen but for us to know she is at her wits end like a cat hissing. She could show us her fierce side. Even though she is small she is not to be messed with. She has limits.
Regardless of Melinda’s intentions mom hears the commotion brewing in the next room and she wants the house quiet while she does her chores in the kitchen.
“Girls get outside!” She yells from the next room like we are a mile away. Dad walks in the house, opening the door behind mom just as she says this and he looks to see what is going on.
“We are bored”, I argue with a sigh as I flop backwards onto the couch like all excitement is gone from the world. “What can we do?”
Dad is undoing his boots and setting them under the chair by the heater in the kitchen. He looks up and his tone is playful, there is a twinkle in his eye and I know he has something cooked up. I am ready. “I bet you can’t suck on your big toe” he says so randomly. Egged on and challenge accepted. Us girls are all in and we are doing it in a childish awkward way.
Dad had three tricks he always pulled on us when we were bored. I don’t know how come we always forgot about them but we did. He either told us to climb the walls of the archway between the kitchen and the living-room, cross our legs and walk on our knees, or suck on our big toe.
Now when I think back on it I kind of wonder why we thought it was so funny. I sit here and imagine it and think that there wasn’t much to look at, three girls sucking on their big toe? Yet, it drew mom in from the kitchen and dad was busy laughing watching us so innocently make fools out of ourselves.
I am quite pleased with myself. I have dad’s attention and that is exactly what I want. Dad would hold us, rocks us and carry us to bed once in a while. I could crawl up on his knee whenever I wanted to and he never refused. He would hold us and bounce us on his knee all the while singing his twiddly-dee tune. Mom would just yells and kick us outside. I want dad’s eye.
I am pleased with myself that everyone is happy and laughing. I know that we were all part of it but somehow I feel responsible. I feel like I am the quirky one, the one that will make a fool of herself for other people to experience joy. I am the one that will try to make life easier for others – take the edge off. It is my responsiblity. Well, I think Melinda does it too but differently. I don’t know where I got the belief from to take care of others but I have it young. Maybe I want it to be my responsiblity. I don’t think anyone asked for me to do it. I just found joy in it and took it on.
Now as an adult I sense I have taken on too much. Tried to make too many people happy. Balance. Gotta find that balance. I am getting there. Old habits are hard to break and when you have so much fun doing it, it becomes even harder to stop.