While Ruth is sobbing over Sarah leaving for Portugal and all their last talks, I am sitting in my backyard wondering why in the world I actually listen to my sisters when they talk.
This past week I was in Florida doing my Auntie due diligence, which means I was giving hugs, offering prayers, and spending special alone time with each of my 13 nieces and nephews. It was wonderfully exhausting.
My bottom line objective during these one-on-one times was to get the dirt on how my sisters have failed as moms, so I could love their children better than them, and solidify my place as their favorite aunt. In between all these wonderful auntie moments, I did get some sister time too. My sisters’ bottom line objective was to encourage, tweak, and re-tweak my first-time mommy skills.
Ah, big sisters!
Ruth, Hannah, and Sarah, whom I visited at different times during my 10 days in Florida, each gave the same advice. “You’re hovering over your toddler,” they said. “She needs to run around outside and get dirty. Let her explore.”
Of course, they are right. “But,” I said in defense. “I live in a new geography now. In Texas, there’s no fabulous grass like in Florida. It’s rocky and hilly. I’m scared my kid is going to get bitten by a rattlesnake.”
After analyzing the pro’s and con’s of my backyard, my sisters unanimously decided I should no longer fight my rocky landscape. I should go to the Dollar Store, get a bunch of cheap buckets, and place them in the yard for my toddler to fill with rocks. Seriously, that was their advice.
So, today, the first full day I was home from my Florida trip, I began cleaning up my backyard from the previous renter. I found old dog toys, trash, and poop. I also found some holes that looked like a snake could live in them. But, I pushed back my fears and continued preparing a Texas play haven for my little girl.
“It’s nothing,” I mumbled to myself. “My sisters said the probability of finding actual rattle snakes was low.” And furthermore, I replayed Ruth’s heroic retelling of once killing the most venomous snake in Florida in her backyard. She had clucked, so convincingly in her matriarchal tone, about the need for children to “be one with nature,” even if it meant slaying coral snakes every once in a while.
I was still reassuring myself when I came across this.