Panorama of San Bernardino

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Even Steven

We have three dogs, two moms and no kids.  But, sometimes the moms are more like kids. 

My mother-in-law got jealous this morning because we went to breakfast in Wrightwood to see the snow.  Without her. 

Mind you, we left at seven-thirty in the morning, an hour my mother-in-law considers ungodly.  We even peeked in on her, but she was still under the covers.  What bothered my mother-in-law the most was that we took my mom who is an early riser by nature.  Adrian was at a total loss.  "She is being completely unreasonable," he said.  "Well, that's kids for you," I responded.

Kids (and mothers) think everything has to be equal, but life is not equal, not even when you try and make it so.

Take my sisters and I for example.  There are three of us, me, my twin Jackie and our younger sister Annie.  Growing up, Annie was my mother’s favorite, she could do no wrong.  My mom won't even try and deny it, but says, "She was such a good girl.  She never gave me any problems, she never cried, not like Jackie who drove me crazy with her crying." 

My mom loved to tell a story when we were little about how Jackie and I were going to be in a Tide commercial, but during the audition, Jackie screamed and cried so much that I started to cry and the producers went with a different set of twins. 

I have no idea whether this story is true, but I grew up thinking I missed an acting opportunity because of Jackie.    

Annie always got the best gifts.  My mom said it was because there was only one of her and two of us twins.  Everything matched for us.  When my mom bought us bicycles, Annie got the bright red bike and Jackie and I got matching yellow bikes.  People called us the banana bike twins. 

You probably already guessed that my mom dressed us alike until junior high. 

Annette’s bike was shiny and beautiful like a candy apple.  Annie would ride it down our cul-de-sac chiming her bell and I would look down at my bike in disgust and think, "Stupid yellow banana bike."

One day, my mom and Annie left to go grocery shopping and we took her bike to the park.  Jackie rammed its shiny frame into a tree and I used a rock to scratch its shiny paint.  We dirtied its bight white seat with mud. 

When Annie and my mom came home from the store, Annie saw the bike and whimpered, “My bike is ruined, it’s ruined.”  My mom slapped me and chased after Jackie with a broom, but it was well worth it. 

The worst thing we ever did to Annie is what we call the “hooker jacket” incident as adults.  We were seven.  Annie was five and in kindergarten.  It was starting to get cold in the mornings and one night my mom brought home three large white plastic K-Mart bags. 

My mom placed a bag before each one of us and said, "Open it.  I used this week's tips to get you girls something nice for winter."
My mom was like that.  One minute she was crazy and I thought I hated her and the next minute she would do something generous like spending all her tip money on us. 

Annie opened her bag first and out came a beautiful snowy coat, pure white with pink lining.  She put it on and she looked like a snow bunny.  Jackie and I opened our bags at the same time and pulled out light brown fur jackets with dark brown lining. 
“Do you like them?”  my mom asked.  “I love it!” I said with fabricated glee.  I knew I should be grateful, but I couldn't help but stare as Annie preened in front of the mirror in her white coat. 

My mom used the same old excuse.  “I would have got you all white ones,” my mom said, “but there was only one white one left.” 

“That’s OK mom, I love my coat, it’s beautiful,” I lied as I ran my hand down the soft arm of the coat. 

As an adult, I am fully aware of prejudices toward color and know that white does not equal good and black or brown does not equal bad.  Yet, as a child, right or wrong, I wanted the white coat with the pink lining.  I can still taste that desire. 

I wanted to be a snow bunny, plain and simple.  And in my seven year old head, snow bunnies were not brown. 
Jackie put on her coat, but it was too tight.  Jackie pulled the sides of the coat together and tried to zip it and my mom pulled her arm and said, “I’ll take it back tomorrow and get you a bigger size.”  Jackie grimaced. 

The next day on the way to school we had a plan.  It was almost like we couldn’t help ourselves. 

I walked with Annie up Glenn Street and made a right on D street toward school.  Jackie walked slowly behind and as we rounded the corner, Jackie pushed Annie into a puddle of water and mud.

Annie's formerly alabaster coat would never be pure as snow ever again.

Suffice to say, I will never buy fur coats for my mother and mother-in-law. 

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