Over the weekend I got a FaceTime call from my sister. No big deal, we talk every day. But it was a little earlier than I’m used to hearing from her so I was immediately concerned.
When I saw her still in her bed, her face all scrunched, and unable to talk, my brain began to race. Was she OK? Was it bad news? Was our mom OK? My sister’s kids? What on earth was happening?
I looked closer.
She wasn’t crying, she was laughing so hard she couldn’t make any sound.
I said “what the heck man, you scared the bejesus out of me!”
Given she was laughing so hard she couldn’t explain, she flipped the camera around to reveal my brother-in-law standing at the side of the bed holding her pants.
I began to laugh.
“He wants to go for a walk,” she stammered.
That made me laugh even harder.
I feel for her poor husband because he had no idea why we were laughing and why his life was about to get so much more annoying.
Those of you blessed with a sibling might be able to relate.
Like I said a couple of weeks ago, my sister and I were often each other’s only playmates when we were younger. Sure there were neighbourhood kids and whatnot, but they weren’t always out.
Both athletes from a young age, one of our favourite things to do, scratch that, one of MY favourite things to do was to grab our ball gloves and play catch.
The only thing was, it never went smoothly. One of us would inevitably over-throw the other and the ball would roll down our flat and lengthy street, sometimes for hundreds of metres. The fight would begin about who was to retrieve it: the one who threw it, or the one who didn’t catch it. Ultimately “it was your idea” would arise and one of us would grab the ball. Either that or my big sister would just walk in the house and pretend we’d never played. Sometimes, when I had enough nerve (which wasn’t often) I’d just leave the ball in the hedge at the end of the street and get it another day. (That was the same hedge one of us crashed into when we tied the handlebars of bicycles together and tried to turn a corner. Ahhh, youth.)
That’s usually how it ended.
How it began? With me standing at the side of the couch with my sister’s socks, much like my brother-in-law did when he wanted to go for a walk.
You see, my sister is a big sister, I’m a little sister, her husband was an only child. This gives her all the power for some reason.
If my brother-in-law wanted a walk, he was going to have to work for it.
Him getting my sister her pants was only the beginning…
Years ago, I would reluctantly get my sister her socks so we could go out to play, only for her to flex her power muscles and have her say: “put them on me”.
Whether or not I complied depended on how badly I wanted to play.
After the socks it was always: “Bring me my shoes”.
Are you serious!? She always was.
“Put them on me,” she’d demand while still prone on the couch.
Following that I’d have to get the gloves and a ball and whatnot before she’d play. It was exhausting just getting her out the door. But that was the price to pay for playing with my big sister.
When I saw my bother-in-law standing at the end of their bed with pants in his hand, I knew he was in for an ordeal. The poor guy was starting with pants! There were at least six steps before getting her out the door!
Oh the power of love. And his ability to see the humour in it.
Later she told me he made it all the way up to putting her shoes on her before she pulled the plug on the gag. I’m not sure who I’m prouder of, him for sticking with it and getting his walk, or her, for being completely unreasonable and knowing it, but being stubborn enough to follow through with the ridiculousness of her plan.
Things like that haven’t happened at my house with my kids yet. One day they might and I’ll choose not to get involved. Those will be the inside stories that keep them close as the years pass and their lives become more and more separate. Those will be the memories they talk about as adults, the ones that will still crack them up over a video call decades and decades later.
Gosh, I love my sister. So much so that I’d probably put on her socks for her if she asked. But please don’t tell her that.