I'm the oldest of three. We were a wild bunch, wrestled a lot. We'd push all the furniture to the outside wall of the living room and throw down WWF style, leaping off couches and inventing new ways to incorporate the carpet burn into our defensive strategy. Eventually, we had to make it a rule that we stay on our knees the whole time and absolutely no one was allowed to get a running start from the top of the staircase, jumping directly into the ring, which was made up of all the couch cushions. You can do quite a lot of damage from the standing position especially if you've had over 4 gallons of grape kool-aid to drink that day, which we usually had as evidenced from the perpetual purple mustaches in all our childhood photos. There's nothing like three sugar-addled, furniture rearranging, maniacs shouting, "Go for the eye! Go for the eye!" to make your parents question whether or not they would have actually preferred boys.
Truth is we watched a lot of The Incredible Hulk back then. Julie spent a good 2 or 3 years telling people not to make her mad because "you wouldn't like me when I'm mad." And it was true. Everyone in the family including aunts and uncles felt Julie's wrath at one point or another. Though she never turned green or ripped off her shirt or anything, she did go for the shins and hard. After she'd given you her verbal warning and it was clearly not taken seriously (and woe to those who actually laughed!), she'd just pull that little Osh-Kosh B'Gosh shoe of hers back like she'd just slung a bow and arrow and--swack! Shin splint. What else can you do when you're only 3' 6"? (Don't answer that.)
Sometimes when I look into Nora's face, I see my sisters there and I'm suddenly 6 or 7 years old again. Having children does so many miraculous things to your heart and your memory. Watching Nora practice her Viking sword fighting techniques with an empty paper towel tube, I'm suddenly back in the ring with Julie and Rasa.
I wonder if they'd be willing to go just one round when I see them this Christmas. I'll bring some kool-aid just in case.