Be a Graciela, and Be Happy!

Be A Graciela, And Be Happy

 

     When I was younger, I was that annoying one in the family that nobody wanted to be around. I was FedEx from Cheaper by the Dozen, but we were only half a dozen. My two older sisters hated me because when it was just the three of us, I was spoiled rotten. I trashed their dolls, drawing on them with a Sharpie, and wanted and got everything my sister’s laid their hands on. I wasn’t in school. They were. This meant I got our mother all to myself. We had dates at McDonald’s and visits to the zoo. But when I was only a precious four years of age, the twins came.

     Born at 32 weeks in 1980, the twins came in with one foot in life and one in death. They made it, but they stole all our mother’s time and energy, and our lives were turned upside down. Pardon the cliché, but I literally would stand on my head. That or I could often be found sitting in a corner with globs of my own hair in my hands. I attribute this behavior to poor stress management. Sadly, my hair now falls out on its own when I’m stressed. Anyway, it gets better.

     The twins weren’t even a year old when my mother learned she was accidentally expecting again.

%&#@.

#BigOops.  

     So now we were six siblings. How on earth do you compete? Your two older sisters are five and six years older than you, and they’re best friends. The younger set not only almost died and scared everyone have to death, but they are TWINS, so they get some pretty cool attention on both counts. And no one can ever argue that the baby of the family doesn’t have this automatic favoritism card.

     And it only got worse. My awkward phase hit. Imagine big pink glasses, long stringy hair that I unsuccessfully attempted to feather each day, scrawny little legs and arms, and buck teeth. Oh! Don’t forget the freckles and the little line across the bridge of my nose from pushing up my glasses with my index finger.  I still shudder at the sight of my middle school photos.

     It seemed that everyone in our family was attractive except for me. I was impulsive, hyper-active… my big sisters only wanted to doll up my little sister. She was prettier than me, had better hair, and she came in a package. It was fun to dress up twins. Then the third guy got added in and they sort of became a triplet package. Imagine my horror upon learning that while I was at school, our mother took the three of them in cute little matching, red, velvet Christmas outfits and had the three of them photographed together. Smh!

     Then I developed a sort of twitching problem. That became pretty embarrassing in public. I was also forced to be the third wheel on my big sisters’ dates, promising to keep my silence about their hand-holding at the movies if they bought me a pickle… a promise they fell for and I broke numerous times. Get a clue, right?

     Have I painted a lovely enough picture? Did I mention how outlandishly hyper I was? I did? Well let me add to that. Not only did I do a cartwheel using the lap of my sister’s new boyfriend (he stuck around, by the way), but one day my mother had some women coming over to sell her some clothes and jewelry. She said, “Please do NOT do your gymnastics in the house, okay?” Well, I was certain she left out the words, “DO NOT,” because after all, who wouldn’t want their daughter to show off her amazing couch flipping skills? So not only did I kick one lady in the face with my cartwheel, but the quarter in my hand flew into the other lady’s cup of tea. Lord knows how she didn’t realize that, but I did try to tell my mother. The lady found the quarter. I won’t say how.

     Don’t ask me how all the above mentioned antics ended up in a polished package of a fine violinist, college cheerleader, happily married woman with five kids including a set of my own twins.

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