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See now, this is one of the under-publicised benefits of having an older sibling: we break parents in so that our younger siblings need only follow in our footsteps. The parents, or in our case, The Mom, know instantly to brace themselves for the worst-case scenario.

Many, many moons ago, I too wandered into The Mom’s room, late at night, when she was already asleep. I announced my arrival by saying something along the lines of, “Great news, Ma, the airbags work.”

Now, I am the first to admit that as far as opening gambits in the middle of the night go, this was a bit of a shocker. Though, it did get The Mom’s attention.

I believe her response was something along the lines of, “You what?”

It’s pretty impressive how quickly The Mom can wake up when she suspects things have taken a turn. Equally, I also think it behooves whatever child has just done something fairly suspicious and probably bad, to at least try to be entertaining about it. That this counts for logic at The Mom’s should give you every indication of how we roll.

So it was, that after my initial sentence, I had to explain that I had just been ferried home by my friend’s Mom, who is also one of The Mom’s best friends, and deposited in the driveway after having been slapped upside the head several times for obvious stupidity on my part. I proceeded to explain that I’d just totalled The Mom’s brand new car. I focused, as one does in these situations, on the positive. Namely that no one was hurt and the airbags worked. The Mom, however, chose not to see these things in a similarly positive light.

These funny little moments of near-death are what keep one alive, or at least remind one of what being alive is really about and I believe it is a service we, as children, are contractually obliged to provide for our parents. And the three of us are doing a bang-up job. You know they say that serious cognitive decline starts when you no longer use your brain quite so much, have little in the way of stimulus to react to. Well, I tell you this Dear Reader, The Mom is not lacking for stimulus in her life. Her brain is nowhere near anything like the beginnings of cognitive decline. You’re welcome.

Quite frankly, I know not why The Mom is so put out by L’il Sis’ new choice in hair colour. The fact of the matter is that it’s not really new at all, she and I both used to have pink hair – the colour was, I believe, called Dark Tulip, and I remember The Mom, after she’d got over the fact that her children took great pleasure in announcing, visually, to the world at large, that we were Freaks and Weirdos, that actually the pink was rather fetching. I believe she told me it helped me to not look quite so pale. My pallor being one of her main concerns in life. The blue, however, did nothing for my skin nor the black bags I’ve had under my eyes since birth.

As I recall, her biggest problem during the Manic Panic years was that the hair dye stained the grout in her bathtub each time we had to re-colour our hair.

The Mom was filling me in on all this, L’il Sis’ new hair colour (which being a pale pink, more of a blush really, hardly counts as ground breaking news these days), and Crazy D’s latest attempts to taunt his own demise, I casually noted that, given the competition, I had now assured myself of victory. For the foreseeable future, I would hold the title of Golden Child, which means that I Can Do No Wrong, which is good for many reasons, not the least of which is that I’ll be back there this week and will probably be cranky. This will be easily overlooked due to the fact that I am employed and not living at The Mom’s house taking every opportunity to test the strength of her sanity. In fact, of late, I’ve taken to reminding her of how easy she had it when I was living with her. Sure, by refusing to take steroids and lurching ever closer toward a hospital admission due to neglected Crohn’s flare, I was taunting death, or at least serious ill-health, but I was doing it where she could see me. Which is more than I can say for Crazy D. And, as hair colouring for me now stretches no further than covering up the grey hair, it’s hardly worth mentioning.

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