Home and Deranged
I’m raiding closets, fighting over valuable shower time, helping apply makeup and holding popular curly hair-styling lessons. Life at home with my two (biological) sisters often resembles living with my 80-plus sorority sibs.
I’m the first to tell you that living in a sorority house teaches you a lot more than how to get stains out of a garment you borrowed with assumed permission or how to jimmy a locked kitchen door. It teaches you how to live and work with people every day without killing them. Two full years of living in Kappa probably helped ease the unexpected transition to life back at home in a house full of women. Blood-related women. Like I said, there are a lot of similarities.
But there are differences.
With one gene-stealer about to leave for college and the other poised at the brink of high school, we sometimes have some trouble relating to one another. Annie, the soon-to-be college freshman, is completely spastic and almost always in the middle of some type of crisis. She’s so hard to get a hold of that I compare her to the spawn that would result if a lightning bolt and a mirage were to reproduce. If I blink, I might miss her.
I remember feeling the exact same way she does about all the exact same things — the intensity of those first relationships, the fear in knowing your friends will drift and the desperate needing of but resentment toward your family.
But no amount of telling her you’ve been through it and seen the other side will calm her when she’s in a tizzy or right her when she’s capsized in a pool of funk. Still, despite the sometimes-distance, I can’t wait to do her makeup for prom on Saturday and help her shop for shoes. She’s totally brilliant, but the girl has questionable taste in footwear.
Grace, the eighth grader who has sent shockwaves through the family by opting to leave our legacied preparatory school for public education, is an old soul. She’s introverted and might be even be called shy — a total anomaly in a family of yellers. (If you met us all at once for the first time, you might think we shared an amphetamine problem.)
Despite having nearly 10 years between us and completely divergent sources of stress, I find her an incredibly resourceful sounding board. And my dating books about dealing with asshole men have ended up being full of surprisingly pertinent advice for interacting with junior-high females.
The only parallel that I think we’re really missing out on is weekly chapter meetings. I can only imagine what might ensue if one of the four of us (you have to include mom) were given a gavel, or the turn things might take if we had “name that family member” and called each other out on our more dubious behavior.
We might steer clear of official family meetings, but we do have the occasional organized dance party and what amounts to a community bathroom.
Our Heights house is a long ways from Theta chapter, but it’s not far off.