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    Residual Sibling Rivalry

    | NJ, USA | Siblings, Top

    (I am about nine years old, and have just learned about the birds and the bees. My sister is about seven, and naturally, I tell her everything I know.)

    Sister: “Ew. Did Mom and Dad do that?!”

    Me: “Uh-huh.”

    Sister: “Ew! But there’s two of us, and that must mean they’ve done that at least twice! Gross!”

    Me: “Silly [Sister], grown ups only do it once, on their honeymoon. Duh!”

    Sister: “But then…”

    Me: *exasperated sigh* “They do it once, and have a baby. The second baby comes from whatever is left inside the mommy after the first baby comes out. You’re the residue.”

    Sister: “Oh…”

    (She believed it for years!)

    Incoming Comments About Outgoings

    | Australia | In-Laws

    (My in-laws think that I came from a wealthy family.)

    Mother-In-Law: “Not all of us have the luck of being born into money.”

    Me: “What do you mean?”

    Mother-In-Law: “Well look at your family: they have a big house and property. You’ve never wanted for much.”

    Me: “Um, no. Dad has always worked for what he’s got, has been careful with his money, and doesn’t waste any of it.”

    Mother-In-Law: “You’re saying like us aren’t you?”

    Me: “Well, you said it.”

    Mother-In-Law: “Yeah, well, he probably inherited a lot of it.”

    Me: “No. I can remember Mum going without food to make sure we got fed. They grew vegetables and had chickens. They built their house over years, even buying a house for demolition for $200. Dad often worked two or three jobs to raise money. As soon as Mum was able, she worked, too. They ran businesses and invested their retirements into property so it’s there when they need it. The rent brings in an income; they don’t have a pension. They actually have an income that is less than the pension. They think long and hard about major purchases so not to waste anything.”

    (I mention the conversation to my sister who tells me she goes through the same thing with her in-laws.)

    Sister: “My in-laws get rich scheme is to gamble and then spend what they have on high living. My mother-in-law was berating me for having money in the bank. She said ‘money is for spending.’”

    Sunshine Is The Keystone To Their Argument

    | Philadelphia, PA, USA | Cousins, Grandparents

    (My cousin has the misfortune of scoping out potential wedding venues during the polar vortex. Though they’re having the wedding in Pennsylvania, where both their extended families live, she and her fiancé live in Tampa, Florida.)

    Grandpa: “So, when are you coming back?”

    Cousin: *brightly* “We’ll be up again for Easter.”

    Grandpa: “No, when are you coming back for good?”

    Cousin: *guilty* “Um…”

    Me: *showing them both the current Tampa weather on my smartphone* “It’s 60 in Tampa right now. It’s 10 here. I’m sorry, Grandpa. They’re never coming back.”

    Experience Is The Mother Of Wisdom

    | Philadelphia, PA, USA | Parents & Guardians, Spouses & Partners, Top

    (My mother was the youngest child and never babysat. My father grew up constantly helping out with his nieces and nephews. I’ve just been born and am home from the hospital, when Dad finds Mom staring at me on the changing table.)

    Dad: “Hi.”

    Mom: “Hi.”

    Dad: “How is she?”

    Mom: “Um. Okay. Kind of…”

    Dad: “You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”

    Mom: “… No.”

    Dad: *sighs and starts to remove soiled diaper* “Watch closely…”

    Playing Truant With The Truth

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia |

    (We are visiting my grandparents in a small country town. Dad and I have gone over to an aunt’s place who lives in the same town. She has a visitor.)

    Dad: *to me* “That man is a truant officer. He takes bad kids away. You have to be good or he will take you away if you are not.”

    (I spend the rest of the visit in fear, staying outside, keeping quiet and trying to stay hidden for a couple of hours. I am too young to walk back to my grandparents’ on my own. Years later I relate the story to my father.)

    Dad: “I don’t remember it.”

    Me: “You told me that the man would take me away if I was bad. I was traumatised”

    Dad:  ”Were you good?”

    Me: “Yes! I was too afraid to be bad. I stayed hidden most of the time, even changing hiding spots when I heard him coming out the back.”

    Dad:  ”Haha, I should have used that one more often. I think that was my cousin. He wasn’t a truant officer.”

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