Yesterday I was reminded of a funny time in my childhood.
I should clarify that I find it funny now. It cracks me the hell up to think about now. At the time, it was a little bit heartbreak-y and whiny and mopey.
When I was in grade one, my mom started working again. I don’t remember being worried about this change or anything. It all seemed pretty normal. I was fine with it. But the one major thing that changed is that instead of dropping my brother and I off at school a few minutes before the bell rang, we had to be there a lot before the bell rang. Because my mom was also working at a school, and she had to be there before her school started.
My mom had a chat with the principal to let him know what was going on. From what I remember/am making up, I believe the verdict was that it was fine if my brother and I were on the school premises early, but that no one would be responsible for us. Basically, we had to keep ourselves safe and out of trouble.
Step right up, big brother.
I never really thought about it until yesterday, but as the baby of my family, I will never know what it’s like to feel that sort of nurturing, parental thing older siblings feel for their younger siblings. You know, once they get old enough to feel nurturing and parental and they’re not just annoyed by the fact that they’re obligated to keep some other person alive, because what a drag.
On the flip side, I guess my big brother will never know what it’s like to look up to an older sibling like they’re a super hero, like they totally know their shit, and want to impress them and make them think you’re cool, etc., etc.
SIDENOTE: My lucky brother. His coolness was like, built-in. I’ve worked so hard for almost 27 years to be cool and it still hasn’t stuck!
Anyway, so my poor brother was totally stuck with me before school.
Again, I say “poor brother” now, but at the time, I was like, overjoyed that he was forced to hang out with me. Because I liked him.
SIDENOTE: He liked me too – we’ve always gotten along really well – but I was an annoying little kid.
I’m not sure how long we lasted hanging out before school started, but I remember one day very distinctly.
It was definitely winter, because I feel like I was wearing some very swishy waterproof snowpants and I know for sure I had a toque and mittens and boots. It was a huge challenge just wearing all of that clothing and carrying my backpack. My mom dropped us off at school and told us that since it was so cold, we were supposed to wait inside.
SIDENOTE: When I think of children in snowsuits, this is always the first image to come to mind…
So we waved goodbye to her and went into our school. But after a few minutes, some of my brother’s friends arrived, or he thought they might have or something. He turned to me and said, “Andrea, just sit on the stairs here for a second, okay?”
I complied, grateful to not be standing in snowpants, boots, the whole bit.
“Okay, I’ll be back in a while – I’m going to see my friends.”
And off he went.
And there I sat.
It felt like time had slowed down completely. Like I’d just be sitting there until bedtime when my mom noticed I had never gotten home. I sighed, staring into the inside of my toque, which was falling over my eyes. I hugged my backpack against my knees. This was boring and lonely and sad.
Eventually, the principal noticed I was alone and came to check on me. I buried my face into the collar of my wintercoat and responded, “Yes.” when he asked if I was okay.
And eventually the bell rang and school started.
My brother never returned for me.
That was the day I learned that little sisters can be a huuuuuge style cramper.
P.S. Little sisters can also totally rat you out when they get home. I’m not saying that’s what I did, but that’s exactly what I did.