One thing about siblings (and maybe ex-wives), nobody else is better at pushing your buttons in just that perfect way.
With Ashes away at college, Theo didn't only benefit in the bedroom department at my place. He also benefited at Josie's, where he has the run of the entire top floor of the house. He's taken advantage of it, too, and is now using Ashes' bedroom as his game room. God only know what he uses Josie's study for. A masturbatorium?
"You'd better not get too used to using Ashes' space here," I warned him. "She will be back."
"Ashes doesn't have a room up here any more," he confidently informed me. "She lives at college now."
"So what happens when she comes home?"
Didn't even skip a beat. "She'll sleep on the couch downstairs."
Oh, really? That theory was tested this week-end, when like most college freshman, she returned home for the long week-end. After a day with me and Corb's mother apple picking in New Hampshire, she returned to Josie's to spend the night in her...I mean, Theo's...bedroom.
I heard about it in grisly detail the following morning. "Ashes threw my X-box into my old bedroom last night."
"That would imply that you have a new bedroom, numb nuts!"
"I do have a new one! You're in college!"
"That's still my room!"
"Dad, she could have broken my stuff!"
"Guys!" Oh, Lord have mercy, now it's time for a freaking daddy moment. "You two really should try not to push each others buttons so much. It gets old, you know. Theo, of course that's not your room, it's Ashes. You have your own room. And Ashes, you need to treat his stuff with more respect." Sub title: Because if you break it, I'll be paying for it...
Look, I know from whence I'm speaking. My sister Laurie and I spent most of our childhood driving each other crazy. We would fight about everything. We would fight about whether the sun would rise in the morning. As a result, we've spent most of our adult life not talking to each other. And you know what? That may have reduced noise pollution, but it also makes for a lot of uncomfortable moments at family get togethers. Honestly, I wish there was a way to get beyond it, but I honestly wouldn't know where to begin.
That's really a lesson I wish I could teach my kids, but of course, it's impossible. But if I could, I woud tell them this: be careful about button pushing. You push too hard, you break the buttons for good. And once you do, it's really hard to put them back together again.
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