Hi! It’s me! Lily! Fancypants Lily!
Oh do I have a lot to talk about tonight! Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it good-bad, some of it bad-good…
So Dave and Sabby and David finally patched it up. I guess David took my advice and went to Sabby, and they spent an hour talking much more quietly than they have been. It took them an hour. But David was finally teachable and wanted to know what he’d done wrong. He really didn’t know. But I guess I gave him enough to let him know that he actually did do something wrong. I guess they rescinded the grounding, mostly, but they’re not letting him play on the computer in his room anymore, and he has to spend an hour a day outside playing. One of us – Dave, Sabby, Beth, or me has to supervise him while he’s playing. I guess I don’t mind. I wanted him to be more like a brother, and maybe it’ll start being more like that now.
Sabby and I had some words, though.
After all of this fleshed out, Sabby came by to tell me how it worked out. She kind of wasn’t happy with me.
“Lily, why did you talk to David?”
I was confused. “Because he asked me.”
“But that’s not your place. You’re not his mother.”
I was a little offended. “I’m not. But I’m his sister. Or did you lie about my adoption?”
“No, Sabby. No. You’re right, I’m not his mother. But I’ve been wanting to be his sister for a long time, and he’s finally starting to treat me like one. I’m not going to turn him away when he asks me to be a sister to him.”
She was quiet. It looked like she was both angry and – hurt. Finally she deflated.
“No, you’re right. You’re right. You’re his sister. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“But you’re still angry.”
“I’m not. I’m not. I… I guess I am.” she sighed. “How do you do this?,” she finally said. “How do you just march into this family, win me over, win Beth over, even now win David over, when I’m having a hard time just teaching my children how to be people? How did you manage to get through to him what I couldn’t?”
I frowned. “Sabby, why do you do this to yourself?”
“What do you mean?”
I was quiet for a little while. “Why didn’t you know that David was doing all the stuff he was doing?”
She frowned. “Don’t you dare accuse me -“
“I’m not! You asked me a question. I’m trying to answer it! Stop attacking me, Sabby!”
She took a moment to calm down. “I… I’m sorry, Lily.”
“So why didn’t you?”
“Because I… I didn’t think he could do such a thing.”
“So you were content to just let him be, because it never occurred to you. And now you don’t know how to handle your image of him being shattered.”
She put her head in her hands at those words.
“I’m such a bad mother…”
“You’re not!!! Sabby, that’s what mothers are supposed to do! You’re supposed to defend your children and think the best of them. And when you find out they’re doing something wrong, you’re supposed to put the fear of God into them! And you did both!”
“Come here, Lily,” she said and patted the couch next to her. I sat down, a little carefully.
“I’m so jealous of you sometimes,” she said sadly.
“Of me?,” I said, and chuckled darkly. “You’re jealous of me? You, who remember what it’s like to be a little girl, and who has found someone to love, and a family that’s all your own, and… and…. you’re jealous of me?”
“Silly, isn’t it?,” she said. “But sometimes it feels like you’re a better mother -”
“I’m not!”, I interrupted. “I’m not! Stop saying things like that. I’m a better sister. But you’re not supposed to be their sister. You’re supposed to go all Claire Huxtable when your children screw up and tell them to stop talking and why aren’t you answering and stop flinging parts from one end to the other! You’re supposed to do what you’re doing! And I’m supposed to be a good role model and treat them well and give them advice when they ask for us!”
“Could you improve?,” I plowed on. “Sure! But I could be a better sister too! I screw up with David and Beth and you and Dave and even Liz! Maybe after this you’ll watch David and Beth a little more carefully. But that just comes with them growing up! And… and with you growing up too.”
Sabby was quiet. “Let me think about that, Lily. I’m sorrry. I shouldn’t have gotten angry at you.”
I glomped her. “No, you shouldn’t. But I love you, Sabby. I love this family. I love all of you. I love you, and Dave, and Beth, and even David. I love that you took me in and adopted me and have been so nice to me and… and… I don’t like it when you feel so bad and start feeling like you’re a bad mother. I wouldn’t have been nearly as happy with the adoption if I thought you were as bad a mother as you think you are!” I grabbed her hand. “Sabby, take me to the ice cream place. I am going to get us some chocolate.”
“No.”, I dragged her up off the couch. “We’re getting chocolate, I’m paying, and we’ll even bring some back for the rest of the family. But we’re getting chocolate.” I dragged her towards the door, and she finally relented and yelled out that we were going out for a little while.
Finally, we were in the car, and as we were driving, she looked at me and smiled. “How did you know?”
“Because chocolate fixes everything,” I said pompously.
Five large chocolate shakes later, we came back to the house, and distributed the chocolatey goodness. Even Dave got in on the fun (Dave explained a while ago that while men aren’t quite as huge on chocolate as women, they still quite enjoy it, and Dave will quite willingly inhale any chocolate put in front of him). As we sat there, David went and got a board game, Beth made popcorn and we had an impromptu family night. And you know what? It was one of the best family nights ever. Because David was actually playing games with us, Sabby finally seemed to be relaxing a little, and I realized that sometimes the best families are forged in the flames of jealousy and bitterness and anger and forgiveness and playing games together and eating chocolate and popcorn and just talking to each other. And maybe someday when I’m thirty and have children of my own, maybe, and a husband and a house and I’ll be sitting at the table playing board games and eating popcorn and drinking a chocolate shake, and I’ll remember the night when Sabby got angry at me, I fed her chocolate, and we all ended up laughing and playing together. And maybe I’ll tell my children this story and they’ll tell the same story to their children, and, well, Sabby’s a lot better mother than she thinks sometimes.
Later I found the money I thought I’d spent on the shakes in my purse, with a note. “I still know a few tricks, Lily. Love, Sabby.”
I giggled and wrote “So do I, Love, Lily” and put it back in her purse. This could be an amusing game for a little while, until she goes Claire Huxtable on me and tells me if she finds that money back in her purse again…
I love Sabby. I mean I really love her. And I love you all too. ❤️ But you all knew that. And I love chocolate!!!