Thanksgiving Day Hike (pt. II)


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Driving Me Crazy


Siblings are the personification of every exasperating paradox. Best friends, bitter foes. As children, we played make-believe, creating genuine bonds that connect us for the rest of our lives. As the older sibling, I didn’t want my little sister tagging along after me all the time. Now, I wish that we could spend more time together. When my sister was a little diva, whose head reached my shoulder, she used to boss me around. Now, she’s three inches taller than me and…well, not everything changes.

About two weeks ago, she took her driver’s test. She failed. To be fair, her proctor was unusually bad-tempered and harsh, faulting her for waiting too long at a four-way stop.

Heart-wrenching, blah, blah, blah.

I originally wrote that last sentence to mark where I was going to build an exaggerated story of our house being covered by dark rain clouds and such, but I think I’ll just keep it as it is. Mackenzie was devastated. Life went on. Heart-wrenching, blah, blah, blah.

A couple weeks later, she took it again. It was also my first day of college classes. As I was getting ready, Mom sent me second-to-second play-by-plays via agonized text messages.

Her ominous opening: “We r at the DMV now.”

Call me Ishmael. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. We r at the DMV now.

Building up the suspense: “Since I won’t remember to tell u later, Miss Bonnie said Phillip had the same proctor as Mackenzie. He failed too! He said the same thing she did. Very mean and rude!”

The challenges that plague any hero of noble heart: “This is the longest we’ve ever had to sit.”

The moment when all of our hopes and dreams of the past 16 years seemed to speed away faster than my sister in a 40-zone: “Oh no! The mean lady is here now and Kenzie is next!!!!!!”

Five suspense-filled minutes later: “Oh no! She got another mean one!”

(Are you feeling the desperation? My first day of college certainly paled in comparison.)

And, finally, the moment of glory. Jubilant with the victory over all of the mean, clipboard-wielding ladies that the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles could find to challenge my stalwart sister, Mom proclaimed (surprisingly, with only one exclamation mark): “SHE PASSED!”

When someone gets their license, people usually joke about staying clear of the roads. But I won’t do that. Because I trust my little sister.

And I don’t have a car.

And I live about 15 hours away.

So, really, I’m not joking.

I love you, Little Sister!

Thanks, Mom :)

049There are many “superficial” things that hold deep meaning. It could be a song that revives a memory of a loved one, or an article of clothing worn on a happy day. For me, almost all of my jewelry has special significance.

Perhaps that is why I hesitate to buy a new piece; I do not want to clutter the wooden jewelry box that Gramma gave me with pretty, meaningless sparkles.

As I rummaged through my jewelry box last Sunday, looking for some accessory, my fingers found themselves clutching a piece I had nearly forgotten – that I feel guilty for rarely wearing.

I can’t remember how old I was…probably around 1st grade (although I wouldn’t swear to it. It was sometime between kindergarten and 3rd grade). One of our neighbors hosted some sort of jewelry sale at her house and Mom took me and my sister. For a kid my age (whatever that was), it was a largely boring affair, with ladies standing around talking considerably more than shopping and tables full of gold and silver jewelry strands (not a single Disney princess or Hello Kitty on any of them!). Although I spent most of the night watching Alvin and the Chipmunks, one piece of jewelry did catch my eye.

It was a watch. To this day, I seldom wear a watch (and, in my opinion, it is only a matter of time – no pun intended – before the watch joins its predecessor, the sundial, as a decoration). However, this watch did secure my attention. It did not have a traditional gold and/or silver band and clasp, instead, the band was made of tiny glass turtles. Those turtles fascinated me; they were so colorful and had such intriguing designs on their backs.

I begged Mom to buy it for me. I remember ladies telling her not to; “It’s too nice for her!” My little blue eyes filled with tears. I knew that Mommy was not going to buy me my turtle timepiece.

But she did!

As aforementioned, I do not wear it often. In fact, I have scarcely looked at it in years. Yet, it still holds that precious memory for me, of Mom loving me enough to buy me something that (I know realize) was probably expensive, unheeding of her friends’ advice and the fact that I would probably throw it in my jewelry box and never wear it again.

However, I did wear it last Sunday. After church, Mom lifted my wrist, stared at the watch, said, “Oh”, and dropped it with a blank expression on her face. I doubt she recognized it.

Mom deserves massive appreciation for all the things that she does. My English teacher would abolish the word “things” with one swipe of her red pen for being vague. But what word do you use to describe a hodgepodge of roles from chauffeur to dress consultant to cook to editor?

And the crazy thing is that she may not even remember some of the stuff (another vague word, but what can you do?) that her children remember most.

That is why it is so important to make Mom feel special on Mother’s Day. We should be showing her every day in little things, but on a regular day, everyone vies for what they want to do. Today is to do whatever Mom wants.

And don’t forget to simply thank her.

Thanks for everything, Mom.

I love you 🙂

The Backseat Driver

As a student driver, I am used to being shot dirty looks. I have become accustomed to blaring, screeching, and having my attention directed upward by people’s middle finger. Sometimes people in other cars are nasty, too.

I kid! My parents have never gotten that frustrated with me. And even when they are exasperated, I have to acknowledge their superiority, both in skill and experience.

However, I do not feel so forbearing about the orders being barked at me from the backseat.

The closest to driving that my 14-year-old sister has ever come was when we were about 6-years-old and our dad sometimes allowed us to hold the wheel as he slowly drove around the block. So, why is it that when I am driving, I always feel like I am the one who doesn’t know what she’s doing?

My sister has a very strong, commanding personality. She firmly believes that whenever she starts to drive, she will sit behind that wheel like young Beethoven sitting down at a piano stool. And, in no uncertain terms, she lets me know it.

For some reason, she feels that I cannot recognize a stop sign, tree, or closed garage when I see one, (apparently) that Mom’s occasional corrections are insufficient, and my chauffeuring is the equivalent of embarking on a slow, steady spiral of doom. She keeps a mental list of every mistake I have ever made, and when Mom tells her to move to the backseat because I am driving, she will loudly cry in anguish (perhaps stamping her feet and throwing up her hands for a more dramatic effect), “MOM! Last time Ali drove us home from class we almost crashed 3 times!”

Personally, I cannot remember an instance where I placed us in deadly peril thrice, but my sister will beg that I not be allowed to drive as if, indeed, her life does depend upon it.

Mom says that when I have my license, she will be much sweeter, so that I will take her places.

She says that she’ll have her license before I do.

I say good riddance.