NORMAN — If the first few weeks of 2013 are any indication of what the rest of the year has to offer, I think I’ll be quite happy.
Celebrating a late Christmas was how I ushered in the new year. Bright and early New Year’s Day, I got myself up and headed to Kansas where I would soon be greeted by some happy parents, a crazy Shih Tzu and a stray cat that somehow got the name Skittles.
When I was growing up, I thought my parent’s house was a mansion. I’d no idea that the rest of the world considered mansions to be a bit larger than 1,200 square feet. But to me, it just seemed like we had all the space we needed. It didn’t matter that sometimes you had to put yourself on the waiting list just to use the bathroom. It didn’t matter that sometimes we had to alternate who could be in the kitchen because it was so small. Growing up, that didn’t matter to me. The only thing that mattered was that, even though we had the cramped quarters, the living room always had room for a console television, a recliner to sit in with dad, a sofa that sometimes doubled as a fort and plenty of places to play hide-and-seek.
Something happened though. I guess the house didn’t shrink, just the people in it got bigger. As our family grew, that house didn’t and as a result going home sometime is tricky. The list to get into the bathroom is even longer and the kitchen resembles something the elves that make all those cookies would use. But we always manage.
No matter how small the house feels, it always allows me some good bonding time with my older brother. And when I say bonding, I mean making his life all sorts of uncomfortable. And, through the positive factors of a small house, he had very few places to hide. It’s hard to hold grudges when you have nowhere to run.
I don’t care how old I get, I still enjoy pestering my older brother. I’m not as seasoned as I once was. It takes a little bit more work and a lot more imagination, but I’m not even sure he’d gotten off the plane before I had sent my first text letting him know that I was in full little sister mode.
The best part is that as my niece gets older, she’s more of a help in the annoying my brother phase of our gatherings. We haven’t, but if you saw us in action, you might think we had worked out a plan in secret. We know what buttons to push and how hard to push them. She’s now got home court advantage since she’s with him more hours during the day. That, combined with my 38 years of experience, makes us a great good team. It almost gives me a tear to think that the tradition continues.
I left Kansas after a few days. I was ready to come home to more luxurious digs such as a house with fewer people and two bathrooms. I was ready to lay on my couch and have my kitchen all to myself. But, that two hour drive gave me a few thoughts. How, even though my stay didn’t involve five star accommodations, I had a wonderful start to a bright and shiny year. And, it also gave me a few ideas for little sister antics for the next family gathering.