Tuesday, February 6, 2007

When I was younger I always thought that things would get easier as I got older, and I couldn’t wait to grow up. Now I can’t help but think about how much I wish things were the way they used to be. Now I realize that it’s a lot easier as a kid when you don’t have to worry about things such as bills, food shopping, and doing your own laundry. All I had to do as a kid was occasionally wash dishes after dinner, dust on weekends, and walk my dog a couple of times a day. Now I wish that I was still living with my mom, two sisters, grandparents, and dog, all in the same three bedroom one story house.

I am standing in church next to my younger sister, my two step sisters and a couple of close friends, all with our hair and make up all done. This is the same church that my mom made us come to when we were younger, and now I am happy to be here. We are all wearing the same red wine colored dress and looking down the isle, waiting for my older sister to walk down in her beautiful white gown. I never thought this day would come because in my mind my sisters and I would stay young forever, always arguing with each other or working together to come up with some money to buy some insignificant thing at the mall that we just had to have. The whole idea of one of us getting married and actually starting a life of our own was beyond my realm of thinking, until now.

When we were younger, my two sisters and I shared a small room that somehow fit three beds in it, one set of bunk beds and a mattress that only came out when it was time to go to sleep. Three single beds would have taken up the entire room. Of course, our room was always a mess. Naturally, as every other parent did, my mom would constantly tell us to clean our room. This was an ongoing battle because our room was never clean, but we always eventually did it. Now, cleaning this room was no easy task, we had a lot of stuff. I remember my older sister always coming up with ways to get me and my younger sister to do the cleaning while she either watched or just left completely. One time she grabbed this thing that looked like a fairy wand that must have been from an old Halloween costume and told us that when she tapped us on the head she would point to something and we had to put it away. So my older sister would smack both me and my younger sister on the head and we would put the thing she pointed to away. That’s how our room got clean that day.

All the bridesmaids and groomsmen are in the church and the next song to be played on the organ is “Here comes the bride.” My sister is walking down the isle with my step-father, and waiting for her is her future husband and my future brother in law. No one knew, but she had sneakers on under her dress. When they reach the end of what probably seemed like the longest short walk of her life, her future husband gives my mom a hug and shakes my step dads hand. In a few minutes he will be a part of my family.

Playing card and board games was a weekend ritual. Monopoly was a favorite of ours. My two sisters and I would gather around the table and decide who would be the banker who would get to be the car or the thimble, and who would go first. About twenty minutes into the game my older sister would start to make up rules. For example if she were to roll two fives she would say “ rolling double fives means you get $500”. Of course we agreed to all of these rules because we were younger and thought it was cool of her to do that. For some reason I liked the one dollar bills, so my sister would say “I’ll give you all of my ones if you give me park place”. Meanwhile she has all the money and boardwalk. The game is pretty much over.

Now my sister and her future husband are sitting up on the alter, and the ceremony is continuing. I remember crying, but she was laughing. Later I found out she was laughing because she told the priest that she had to pee. It turns out she had a little to much to drink in the limo ride over.

Now it’s about a month before Christmas, and we really loved Christmas growing up. Some years we spend months preparing Christmas gifts for my mom and grandparents. Of course when you are little you don’t buy gifts, you make them. One year my older sister decided to have us put together a Christmas concert for my mom and grandparents. We had this Disney Christmas record that had the words to all the songs on the back of it that we used as a guideline for our little concert. She made me and my younger sister practice singing everyday, and when we didn’t get the words right she would get upset with us. Trust me when I tell you that my younger sister and I were no American idol. Also around Christmas we just had to sleep next to the Christmas tree the night we put it up.

Now the actual wedding ceremony is over and we all walk back down the isle. My sister and her new husband stand there as happy as I have ever seen them and thank all of their guests for coming in hopes they will see them in a few minutes at the reception. Once we get to the reception hall the photographer gets us all together to take a family photo. It is very hard to get the entire family together on the same day at the same time since we all live in different states, so this is a rare occasion. Since all of our relatives are there, plus a few new additions, it is the biggest family photo yet.

Every Friday night we would be allowed to stay up late to watch TFIF. Because my mom worked nights, and because we didn’t have a TV in our room, we were allowed to sleep in my mom’s room on Friday nights. My grandparents would put a lot of blankets down and two of us would sleep on the floor and one of us would sleep on the couch. Needless to say, my older sister would sleep on the couch. A few years later, when my older sister would go out on Friday nights, it would be a fight between me and my younger sister about who got to sleep on the couch.

Now we are at the reception and all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen are announced and standing and facing each other in the middle of the dance floor. Next my sister and her husband will be announced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. They come running through the door and I don’t think that I have ever seen my sister so happy. Although I cry because I am happy for her, I am also sad because I know things will never be the same as they were. Of course she will always be my sister, but never again will we share the same room and play our old games the way we used to. Now my siter is there for me when I need her in other ways, such as giving me much needed advice, or loaning me a couple bucks when I need it. My last thought before the best party I have ever been to is that I can’t wait to see what happens next, and I hope she is proud of my when I get married!


mike said...
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mike said...

I really love this story. The breaks between the past and present work well at first. For me though, and maybe I'm wrong, there seems to be too many breaks. I think I became a little distracted by it, but maybe to improve it you could combine some of the past sections together and do the same for the present sections. I don't know, maybe it's just me or just because it's the first read. Otherwise, I feel like it all falls in place.

Lisa Rotella said...

Aaaahhhh what a cute story!!!

S. Chandler said...

You have awesome touches in this - the tennis shoes, your sister telling the priest she needed to pee. You pick exactly the right details to evoke character. Great writing.

Did the discussion in class give you some ideas for how to sharpen and deepen this story? I really wanted at to read at least one conversation between you and your sister. Or at least to be in your head when you were feeling and thinking what you set forward about changes. Work on making your reader feel these feelings, rather that stating them (yeah - that's cheap, I'm just writing what the essayists in your book said to do - but really - that is the most important "trick" for you to work on). I agree with lisa and Mike, I really loved this story. I bet your family will want to keep it once you get it just right. It will make them ALL cry.