Friday, January 27, 2006

"Want to?"

I'm the youngest of 5 kids, and the only boy. My sister Leslie is closest to me in age, but is almost 5 years older than me. So while I was going into 6th grade, she was going into 12th.

Since my sisters had moved away by that time, Jr. High & High School seemed like "only child" time for me. Still, I think I spent more time with Leslie than any of my other sisters, at least in my memories of adolescence.

Like all brothers and sisters, we had our fights and squabbles, but usually got along OK.

One day when I was in elementary school, she was laying on her back with her knees up to her chest, and her feet up in the air. It looked like a seat to me, so I came over and put my butt there on the "seat". She gently pushed up with her legs, and raised me up so I was sitting on her extended legs. It was fun!

We started doing this more and more. Sometimes she would sort of rotate her legs/hips while I was up there, to twist me around. I would put my hand above my eyes as if shading them from the sun and look around while she did this. We called this "A Boy Scout Scouting!"

All in all it was a fun game for me. We'd experiment with me sitting in different directions: facing her, facing away, facing sideways, whatever. One of my favorites was when I'd put my belly against her feet and then she'd lift me up. I'd balance there and play Superman -- I'd make the swishing "flying through the air" noises and she'd raise and lower me and twist, to make my "flight" more fun.

It was good times.

At some point, after she moved away to college, we'd still do it once in awhile when she was home on vacation. The older I got the more difficult it was for her, since I was getting heavy. =O)

Here's the fun & weird part though -- what makes it all the more endearing in my memory:

We called it "want to"

We didn't know what to call it and, as I remember it, we didn't really try to come up with a name for it at all. One of us would just walk up to the other and say "Want to?" and we knew what we meant. I don't think either of us ever turned each other down.

It was a close time; a time where I knew I was being focused on as a person and no one else mattered. And I could give my attention to her in a fun way where she was important to me and I was important to her. It took two to play the game, and we were both willing participants.

Just a good memory, I guess. I like those, and I like to share them.

But it goes beyond just the memory of long ago.

Today Leslie lives in a different state, and we see each other infrequently. But to this day, Leslie and I share a love of being silly and fun together. Life is full of serious issues, but it is also important to know how to cut loose, be silly, and just have fun.

I love that. I love being able to laugh and play, instead of letting the worrisome serious things of the world hold sway all the time.

So thanks Les, you thought you were just messing around and killing time with your little brother -- but instead you've helped lay a foundation in my life that persists in supporting me to this day!

~ Keith

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