Two years old. It’s often the age a child starts to realize he or she is the ruler of the family; everything just spins around one most powerful little monarch. Unluckily for me, when I was two years old the ugly truth started to dawn on me: I was adopted. Well, at least I strongly felt so. At the age of two I already had a big brother, then my mom was pregnant with my little sister, leaving me the child they refer to as “that child in the middle”. The most ignored one.
Since two years old, I have been “that child in the middle”, being academically one-up by my big brother (he obviously had a bizarre OCD for books), and then my little sister was always more endearing and likeable, because let’s face it, that whiny little queen really knew how to use cuteness to manipulate. Our parents were hypnotized. Meanwhile I was just a very unwilling babysitter who left her baby sister under the shelter of our loving and caring Husky dog Kat (in my defense, she clearly had had more experience with babies than I did, and proved to be much more reliable than I was) to play with the neighbor kids. We’d run around, play football, hide and seek, and when all the games on earth gradually got boring, we found a higher playground to explore: the tree.
That enormous tall oak tree in our front yard.
That fortress no kid in the neighborhood has ever conquered.
That mysterious treehouse someone’d built before our family moved in.
That throne we bruised ourselves to reach first.
It was the PG-13 version of Game of Throne that I won.
That could have been a sweet childhood memory. But then I passed out.
I fell off the throne one second after I touched it, broke a leg (so my best friend Pat made a point when he said “Break a leg” before I started the climbing show) and cracked some bones somewhere. I did not mind that so much, though. For the first time since my sister was born, I felt like I was truly the center of all attention. Mom talked to me as if I suddenly gained some adorableness out from my sister. Dad came home in the middle of the day to see me. My brother even gave me his precious book “Human evolution” in case I got bored lying in bed. (Thoughtful, big brother! Thoughtful!). The only thing that upset me was that Mom became stricter about my diet than ever. Before I could have had burger some day in the week, but now healthy food was the only choice, coming along with what I hated most: milk. Mom would sit by the bed watching me drink to the last drop of milk, just to make sure no trick was applied. Then she’d tell me it could help me grow back the bones. OK, so maybe I was not adopted after all. I was just another stubborn pain-in-the-ass kind of kid that all parents have to suffer some time in their lives. But then Mom said this really confusing thing:
“I hope you could grow enough to go away from this house someday. We could use some peace around here.”
Then she laughed. She’d left the room.
Back then I was already into movies. My favorite one was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, despite very little screentime that Brad Pitt looked typically Brad Pitt, instead of an old-baby/man. Years later, I rewatched the movie and found one mistake about it: the name. The case of Benjamin Button turning from old into a baby isn’t “curious”. It’s just the journey of any human: born, growing up, growing old into a weak individual who needs help with eating and walking, again in a lifetime. We’re eventually growing back into baby form, and that scares me. Last month I called Mom to check if she is following my strict diet for her lately (yes, now I am the stricter end). Mom laughed out and said “OK, I am not anti-milk like you were. One glass a day isn’t a problem.” Then she told me stories about her new dancing class, and how Dad was the star of the floor. She kept on and on. I could not remember all of those. Just one thing stays in the mind: her laughter. It sounds just like those days when I was small, lying in bed. She was trying to make me drink milk, so that I could go as far as I want to. Now I’m insisting her doing that, to stay with me.
‘Cuz I could trade the whole world for hearing her laughter every day, like this.
Note: This is actually a long-copy ad I wrote for Anlene. Terrible ad, maybe, but I hope you enjoyed the story. Cheers!