We are fraternal twins, the farthest thing from identical. Different looks, varied interests, opposite personalities. I guess I’ve always had the shortest fuse. Definitely more competitive — losing did not come easy to me, nor did being second. I was born second. Well at least second after my twin sister. My entire life I’ve been reminded by her that she’s the older one — all of 9 minutes! We also had an older brother who was mostly in his own world, although he did occasionally pop in, just long enough to antagonize, to push my buttons, to be the tie breaker between me and my sister — with me on the losing end. For some reason, that’s the way it always was — it was me against them. Maybe they liked the reaction they got from me — it must have been entertaining to them. Maybe they wanted to see how far they could push me before I’d do something bad enough so they could run and tattle to mama — that must have been it.
It’s not that I was a bad kid. It’s not that I was mean. I was just easily triggered. And that summer morning as we were preparing for our day, my trigger was pulled. What kind of trigger could possibly set off a 4-year-old? Could have been anything. Maybe my sister ate the last of the Fruit Loops cereal or took one of my favorite dolls? Worse yet! Maybe she flounced around in front of mama and received praise for being such a “good girl” for doing something “cute,” and the mere fact that it wasn’t me receiving the attention made me mad. Being a twin can be tough… all about competition sometimes.
Well, I don’t remember much, but I do remember mama was in a hurry, snapping out the orders as mothers do. She said we needed to change into something clean because we had “somewhere to be.” I remember being in our tiny bedroom, unmade beds, my sister and her messy, long, tangled hair. I’m sure mine was just perfect — or for the sake of my memory, I’ll choose to believe that. I remember my sister and brother giggling in unison as they often did, though I don’t know why — I just know it had something to do with me. In my mind, they were laughing at me. I remember my 4-year-old blood boiling.
My sister was changing clothes and had her shirt off, with her back facing my direction. Where it came from, I don’t know, because there was no baby living in our home, but I spotted a large baby diaper pin, opened it, and lobbed it at her back — and it stuck! My sister screamed! Ashamedly, I recall that I felt a little good about it — for about half a second that is… until mama came in, plucked the safety pin out of her back and looked in my direction with that dreadful look in her eyes. At that moment, mama’s glare was like safety pins poking my eyes out.
Funny in life how the really bad things we go through eventually have a way of erasing from our memories. I think it’s a protection mechanism of some kind…? I don’t know, but I have no recollection of what happened to me as a result of my mischief that day. I imagine it was a big, well-deserved spanking. Good thing my mama didn’t do the “time out” thing back then or I’m sure I’d still be sitting there today.
This is one of my earliest memories. Unfortunately, my sister still remembers it too. Wish she would have erased this one! The good news is, my sister forgave me, mama still loves me, I survived brother’s years of picking on me, and diapers now have Velcro tabs. Not to worry though, I’ve matured through the years and would never throw a diaper pin in anyone’s back again. Ouch! Sorry sis!