I originally posted this one today, November 5th.
"Ok, do you want strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla?"
"One large strawberry shake, please."
The Humdinger was an old neighborhood drive in that my parents used to hot rod around in their 71 Vega at. All the party kids in the Capital Hill area of Southwest Portland had grown in to adults and now spent their Saturday afternoons with their kids on the benches in front of the tiny burger shack, sucking on milkshakes, devouring big, sloppy hamburgers, and inhaling fries. The food was good the way dive food is always good. Greasy, fast, and would make your kids shout in chorus, "THANKS MOM AND DAD!!!"
"Have you ever wanted to be a big sister?" My dad asked as he smiled at me.
"No way!" I answered back. My friends all had little sisters or brothers, or even worse, older brothers and sisters. Why would I want to give up having my own room and toys to have to deal with a little screaming brat? I don't even know how to share!
My moms smile sunk. I'm sure she was excited, as was my dad. Finally, another shot at a baby. My mom had suffered through a miscarriage before she had me and, at the time, it was probably the most heartbreaking thing had ever happened to her. My parents fought and fought, all they wanted was a little boy. They'd even gone as far as to pick out names. Had I been a boy, my name was to be Gregory Michael, named for my dads lifelong best friend who died in a motorcycle accident before him and my mom had gotten married.
"Well, your moms pregnant. You're going to have a little brother or sister! We just found out today!" My dad said as he placed his hand on my back. He was so excited. I could see the smile on his face grow bigger, I could see his eyes glimmer. My bottom lip began to quiver and my eyes got teary and red. I was seriously hurt. I didn't see it as they did, I saw it from the prospective of a spoiled, bratty 4 year old. I would have to share my toys, my bedroom, my orange tabby cat, and my mom and dad.
Kids don't see these things as adults do. My parents knew that me and my sister would grow up to be best friends. We would always have the other one no matter what, and if theres one thing you should be counting on, its family. I thought I had done something wrong. Why would they need another baby if I was there? Wasn't I good enough at being a kid? What did I do that was so wrong that you felt you had to go and have another baby?
I often times like to think of pre-sibling Michelle as the young Drew Barrymore. My parents, more than capable of LOVING a child, were not quite ready to stop being 20-something to have one. They would have wild parties and here I was, little Michelle. I would get in front of everyone and it was just natural. I would dance, sing, tell jokes, "she's so cute, look at her go!" I didn't have a lot of friends my age, and I didn't need them! I had the most grown up group of friends ever. Even though most of them were trashed, they treated me like I was the most special thing any of them had ever come in contact with. I was the first baby among the group of party friends. The last thing I needed was another baby to compete for all the attention with.
Katherine Mae-Del DeFord entered my world on October 9th, 1989. My sister proved every misconception wrong. From day one we were typical sisters. We fought, played, messed around in moms makeup, flushed weird things down the toilet, and harassed the neighborhood. We cry on each others shoulders, we STILL fight like cats and dogs, and we still stick up for one another. We go to shows together, battle on Guitar Hero, and we still take care of mom.
How could a day I was so bummed on be considered my favorite childhood memory? I think it caused a lot of major triggers in my life. In a short 4 years, so many awful things had happened. My dad had been hooked on heavier drugs, as was my mom. While having me showed them that they wanted to have a family and live this all American dream life, having my sister showed my parents what they were going to have to do to live it and that they had to clean up to do it. The parties slowed to every weekend, to once a month, to once every few months, to hardly ever. My parents grew up the day they found out they were having Katie.
My sister has grown in to such a beautiful young lady. She's a senior in high school, she's on the honor roll, shes a member of her schools leadership team, and she has had the same boyfriend since she was a sophomore. By all means possible, there is no way she hasn't made me proud. The Humdinger is still there. A few years later we moved away from Capital Hill and the drive in across the street from Safeway was farther away now. Every once in a while I get the urge to drive 30 minutes for a burger and fries. Unfortunately, I've never been able to look at a strawberry milkshake the same from anywhere.
How could the day I found out I'd be getting a life long best friend not be considered the best day of my childhood, let alone life?