I Turn 18

I didn’t realize how weird my family was until I learned that most siblings don’t give each other hickies. In my defense, it wasn’t incest, Winnie just likes biting people. Here’s a picture:


This week I turned 18, so to celebrate I’m looking back on some of my favorite childhood memories. I’m the oldest of four, meaning that I occasionally guide the madness. My favorite example of this is when we played Titanic. Winnie and I tied three-year-old Tess up in blankets and lowered her off the edge of our bunk bed into a lifeboat made out of pillows, but she kept falling so we’d have to start over. Eventually I decided that it would work better if we put her in a laundry hamper, then let that down with jump ropes, but Mom came in before we could try it. After that, our house had a new rule: no throwing Tess off of bunk beds.

My house has weird rules. For example, since Mom is Mormon, we can’t have sleepovers and we can’t cuss. But it’s totally fine to stand on the table while playing freeze dance. Also, my little brother can’t shoot people with his nerf guns, but Winnie is allowed to smother me with pillows. I’m pretty sure my parents have given up on Winnie and me ever expressing a shred of common sense. They’re still working on the other two, but Asher once snuck into our neighbor’s garage to play with his power tools, and Tess wears knitted vests over sweaters, so I’m not holding out much hope.

One important rule is Fiona Is Straight. I’m not allowed to come out to my siblings, because then Satan might tell them to be gay too. After a year of subtle messaging (such as me saying “I have a girlfriend”) Winnie figured it out anyway. This is great because she can now give me relationship advice, but bad because her advice is almost always “Break up with her. She’s ugly.”

“But Winnie,” I say, “I don’t date people because of how they look.”

To which Winnie replies, “Looks are the only thing that matter. Society defines who I am. This is why you have no friends, honey.”

The Fiona is Straight rule makes for a lot of fantastic puns. For example, my little brother likes shoving me into our coat closet. Last time he did this, I said,

“Can I come out now? Mom? Any thoughts on this subject? Is the world ready for me to be out of the closet?”

I love my family, and I tell them that every day. I often tell them sarcastically, like after they turned my name into a verb. Every time someone breaks something they’ve “fionad” it. Mom frequently fionas the dishwasher, while Tess fionas the glass plates. This is because I once burned a plastic plate on the stove. And melted a mixing bowl in the microwave. And set the smoke alarm off. Three times.

I should probably mention my dad.

I have a dad.

My point about my family is: blood is thicker than water. Meaning the original saying, “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”, meaning that the family you choose is more important than the one you’re born with. I choose the one I’m born with, forever. Until I go to college next fall.


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