Many whom know me, already know that I grew up in a pretty large family. I am the middle child, I have two older siblings and two younger siblings.
For a very long time, my older sister and older brother led the pack. I wanted to do everything they did. My older brother introduced me to the joy of reggae music, specifically the lyrical genius of Bob Marley and artist like Peter Tosh-these artists became more than just concert size posters in his room.
My older sister’s opinion on the appropriate outfit was always sought after as we were growing up. She led the games we played outside in our neighborhood, whether it was kick ball, freeze tag, hide and seek or just an old fashioned foot race on Aberdeen Street.
Both older siblings attempted to teach me different card games and gave up as I only was able to master and enjoy Go Fish, Uno and Twenty-One. They did not hesitate in freezing me out of the comings and goings of their world when they quickly learned I was a double agent. I happily participated in their summer neighborhood behavior, yet I did not hesitate to whisper their actions to my mother.
And then there were my two younger brothers.
My American siblings.
The only two out of five kids born in America-I fondly and satirically labeled them “Mommy’s Princes”. These are the two whom bumped me from my coveted spot in the family as “the baby”, “the youngest child” of Cutie from Trelawny, whom now lived on Aberdeen Street.
This new demotion of younger siblings robbed me of the right to get away with not participating in all the weekly chores assigned to children in a Jamaican household. In fact, their births led me to more responsibility that I did not want and flat out detested.
Rather than snuggle in bed with a good book (I often could be found reading a book from series such as : The Box Car Children, a Nancy Drew mystery, Judy Blume novels like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margret , Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber or even a Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken) I set these books aside to attend to the needs of younger and more attention grabbing little brothers.
The joy of books for me was a safe space. A cocoon of pink I reveled in (only pink because back then and even today I love this color, a color historically attributed to girls).
If it were up to me I’d stay in this cocoon of pink forever, basking in its warm softness. But alas, the popping of pink is inevitable as years past and everyone in the household on Aberdeen Street got older (and hopefully wiser).
At the age of thirty-six I am still pursuing balance between living in a world where all things are still possible yet balancing that belief with adulthood.
Bills must be paid, lodgings must be secured, conversations about retirement funds, student loan debt, health insurance and the best automobile insurance becomes hot topics among friends and family alike.
The reality that death eventually will take hold wasn’t as much a thought back then all those years ago on Aberdeen Street as it is now-with the passing of those near and far; the reality of my own mortality is ever present as I make my way in this world.
The desire to create a safe space within my own mind and environment that still holds that pink bubble in conjunction with the responsibilities of being an adult in this ever-changing world has become a necessity as I navigate my way in a world so beautiful and frightening. What are your thoughts dear reader? What lofty ideas do you still hold dear as you balance your dreams with that of reality?