On the morning I turned 18 years old I woke up after having cried myself to sleep the night before. My bedroom was my own refuge. I was looking around at the things I loved in there, thinking how sad I was to be 18 now. It meant I wasn't a kid anymore and doing kid like things gave me such comfort. I was hanging onto my coloring books and my dress up clothes. In my bedroom that morning it was cold and gray, exactly how I felt inside. With my book shelf full of nick nacks and picture frames sprinkled rose pedals laying around them. also my old pearl necklace was on display and my writing journals piled out of a wooden crate. My dresses all hung in a row from the dark colors to the lighter, My kittens raced under my bed playing bringing about my first small smile as I took it all in from my white twin bed under the warm covers. I got up late and the cottage was quiet expect for the cats that lived there too. I looked in the mirror of our blue bathroom thinking I am so not ready to be 18 years old. It scared me to death to wonder what it all meant. What would be asked of me in this new year? I knew I didn't have the knowledge or the confidence to move on from my life on the farm. I could not bare the idea of leaving my brother Daren, who was 4 years old behind as I moved on into adulthood. I also had another baby brother named Dougie who was almost 2 years old so in all my high school years I took on the mothering role feeling like they were my very own children, I didn't distance myself like my sister Dana did. Dana would walk by me with a worrying look on her face "Debby, do you not realize they are NOT your children? They are just your brothers?" I would stick my chin up in the air as I did when anyone asked me this question. "They need me no matter what!" I would explain. It was true though I considered myself a mother. This is why now I won't have children of my own. For my baby brothers filled that desire to have children of my own. I couldn't replace them, I also know having children is a huge responsibility. Since I have been there, done that, (minus the actual labor) I feel so free and happy in not having my own children!
That morning of my 18th birthday was the worse birthday of my whole life.
I thought to myself as I put on my house coat to walk across the farm yard to my parents home.
" I should just go back to bed and avoid this horrible day all together." This thought stayed with me as I made some oatmeal in the kitchen. Dana had been waiting for me and she ran up behind me with smack on my butt. "IT'S your 18 Birthday Spankings!" She shouted happily and began hitting me with such force that I knew by the time 18 came around I would be bruised. (To THIS day I am against the harmless idea that birthday spankings are fun for they are still hitting someone else, where is the love in that setup?)
I turned away from the boiling pan on the stove and put my knee up into Dana's jaw with such force as I yelled out "STOP! That hurts! you hit way to hard!" Dana's arms were out swing hard at me but caught by surprise in the jaw she back away, "I said STOP NOW or I will hit you in the same way!" Dana blinked at me while rubbing her jaw and shrugged saying "Whatever." She left out the back door. I felt like screaming and throwing everything around me against the wall! But instead I began to cry and wiped my eyes just in time to see our mother standing there in horror at what she had just seen.
My Mom had me sit down with my oatmeal and she was so mad at me. She saw me hit Dana in the jaw with my knee. So she began "How could you! How could you Debby! You are an adult now! Your sister was just playing!" I swallowed one bite of my breakfast thinking once again " I should just go back to bed and avoid this horrible day all together." Mom glanced up at the clock it said 10am, when I would look at it again it would say 1pm. So from 10 to 1 my Mom told me about all the horrible things I had ever done to my sister Dana since the day she was born. THAT was a surprisingly long list of things I did not remember! From when I was 2 years old pushing her down to being 16 years old and not sharing my friends with her! My mother remember it all........ She told me EVERYTHING I did as the bad older sister I was! What a sad sad sad birthday that morning was for me. I never knew I could cry so much for so long, I kept listening to one selfish story after another until I was convinced I should never had been born! Mom sat there at the table as she told everything I did that caused Dana to be hurt by me. I was amazed that Dana being always such a tough person would be so "Emotional damaged" by me! My mom told me it all from the beginning to the end, "Debby, You have emotionally damaged your sister for never being her friend." That statement hurt me so much! (and it is still hard to forget) For the last thing I wanted was to damage my sister! But since I did do all things selfish things, I realized it was now my job to make it all right once again. Mom sat over her cup of tea saying "You know that surprised 16th birthday party Tiffany and you put together for Rebekah? Dana wanted to go, but your other friends said no and now she hardly has any friends because of your selfishness. YOU should have not gone to that party, and instead stand by your sister!" I sat sobbing with a soaked wet collar. I was truly the most horrid selfish person to ever live! I was so convinced by this fact after all my mom had said. I also never questioned her, I sat stunned that I had missed out on realizing all my wrong doings! Being made aware from my mother on my 18th birthday makes that day frozen in my memory. There was such guilt and such shame in me! I had never known my sister needed me so much, she always acted like I was stupid and I felt like I was in her way of what she wanted to do. Mom said to me "Also when you graduated from high school people gave YOU better gifts then her! Even family members treat you more special then HER!" I began asking myself Why is it when Dana says her favorite color is blue I said mine is red? When she wore jeans I wore a skirt? When she did her hair in braids I took mine out? It was very important this morning for my mom to tell me that I was not as good nor as high and mighty as I acted. Mom had been thinking for a while of all these things she needed to tell me. Dana had no idea what was going on over in the kitchen that morning with my mom telling me a list of my last 18 years of wrong actions. I never cried that long and hard before so I was weak walking back to my bedroom and I threw myself at the feet of my sister sobbing, begging her forgiveness of all my selfish behavior. This was the moment Dana thought to herself that her overly emotional sister finally had snapped. "What is wrong with you?" Dana asked for she had just moved her whole bedroom around. She was busy hanging up her clothes. "Please Dana! I am so so very sorry for being a selfish horrible sister to you over these years!" I laid on the floor feeling dizzy and weak as I cried grabbing her leg and she rolled her eyes "You are a FREAK! Stop! Stop being so dramatic!" Dana shook her leg loose and bent down to look me in the eye "What the hell is wrong with you?" she asked as I was so weak from hours of crying so she picked me up and put me into the bathroom, Dana was really worried for me and demanded that I calmed down. Mom appeared in Dana's room as I was hanging over the bathroom sink. I remember being so dehydrated. Dana hated it when our mom pop into our cottage "What?" Dana asked her, Mom walked around snooping casually. Dana knew what she was up to as always, so maybe that is why her messy room was a message to "Keep Out". I listened from behind the bathroom door as Mom asked Dana "Did Debby say she was sorry?" Dana snorted back at her "Yeah. I don't care! so she didn't want all of her birthday spankings...." Mom kept at it for awhile until Dana snapped "I am trying to clean my room you are in the way!" Mom left then Dana opened the bathroom door to find me sitting weakly and sadly on the floor, "Will you tell me what the fuck is going on around here?!" I began to giggle as I explained to Dana of all I ever did wrong to her, Dana slid to the floor with me rolling her eyes and snorting. She became my friend at that moment, We had never been this close before. Dana explained "I always thought you would end up in mental hospital BUT I was sure it happened earlier then I ever thought today! I am glad you are not crazy after all!" We both laughed as we moved to her bed and we sat talking about how our mother's ideas were not what actually happened. It was such a bad day overall, but finally in making that connection to my sister was well worth all the tears to me.
Later that night when Dana and I coined the phrase "Emotionally damaged" then laugh hysterically, we sat up together sharing our thoughts about our mother. Dana handed me a bowl of popcorn as she said "I never felt left out, I was just mad that YOU got to do things with your friends but I couldn't, because my choice of friends were way to "worldly" for Mom." I breathed a sigh of relief for I was carrying around a heavy amount of guilt now. Having Dana tell me her side of all those stories helped me let go of beating myself up over my passed wrongs. Dana chuckled as she said to me "Woman, you scared the shit out of me throwing yourself at my feet! I forgot all about this morning's fight. I was thinking " Get over it for God's sake!" I had no idea Mom told you all those things for 3 hours! Talk about emotionally damaging YOU on your 18th birthday, that really sucks!" We laughed for we were friends!Dana and I sat together over popcorn and cokes laughing and sharing in the closure our mother started that morning. I remember my 18th birthday as the worse birthday of my life, but it also was the very first day my sister became my friend. I had 18 years to get ready for the rest of my beautiful life!