Thursday, June 14, 2012

In the Flow

The ebb and flow of sibling relations is as natural as the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, if not as regular. Still, a mother revels in the flow, dreads the ebb.
Sunshine and Hollywood have been flowing, lately. (See me smile.) 
A full year of high school under her belt has grown Sunshine's confidence; she's more tolerant and accepting of her little brother. She laughs out loud at his goofy antics that, a year ago, made her squint daggers.  And Hollywood, who will turn thirteen later this month, has matured socially, so his humor is a shade more sophisticated, less dependent on (although not entirely devoid of) farting and burping.
Two years apart, they're often encroaching on the other's territory. It all began, of course, when Hollywood showed up in the first place, all 7 lbs of colic screams, to turn Sunshine's only-child world on its ass.
More recently, he invaded her middle school. Then she his acting class. Both occasions of tectonic disposition to suck the waters back out again. 
"Lifeguard's make $350 a week," Hollywood said, last month, when Balthazar reminded Sunshine, again, that she would need a job next summer. (He's in a bit of a hurry to move them on and out. Then, on other days, he's not.) 
As his sister turned her head, truly interested in what he was saying, I saw the concern in Hollywood's double blink.
So, I was nervous, this morning, when I delivered them both to the pool where he has put in many hours to whittle a place for himself amongst the guards.
This could be a disaster, I thought, as they climbed out of the car.
Then, "How was it?" I asked, three hours later, when they, climbed back in. My words were eggshells. 
"Awful," said Sunshine. But she laughed through her report: "I was stuck with the weak swimmers; and I'm blind in this eye from the chlorine; and I forgot my towel and I was dripping in the lobby, and you're not allowed to drip in the lobby...." 
Hollywood howled along with her. "I liked it," he said, when she was finished.
"Everybody likes him,"she added. "He makes them laugh."  
I let out my breath. There would be no major shifts on this day.

I dropped my head back in the water.


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