Monday, March 5, 2012

Dear Jules,

I hear stories about how I was as a child. How I used to read your diary, put on your makeup, try on all of your clothes, leave a crumb trail in your room while I snuck in to watch TV. I apologize publicly because I now know what it feels like to have to younger “siblings,” well in your case just one.

Let me explain…I live in a concession (a cluster of houses where you have a gate to get in) and the landlord has 7 boys. They go through all of my trash leaving the remnants scattered all around the concession, they beg to play with my soccer ball, they play with all of my knickknacks in my house. I am not sure how you dealt with me for so long; I have only been living here for 7 months. Well, today, Julie I had enough. The day before I let them watch “The Lion King” in my living room while I took a nap. My mistake, I know. Rule #1 of babysitting: never leave the kids alone. But you see, that’s why I did not babysit for long; just not good at it.

Today I went to go upload pictures to print out for them and that’s when I saw it. They had a mini photo shoot in my living room. They took my camera, used it, and carefully placed it back where they found it leaving the only evidence as the pictures that they did not know how to delete. (I kept the photos as evidence so when I talked to them, they would know that I knew. But I immediately deleted them because I did not think having photos of a shirtless 9 year old would be appropriate.)

I sat each one of them down, explained to them why they were in trouble and that I was disappointed. I used the word “disappointed” because I remember mom and dad using that word when they were upset with me; it stung more. I told the 3 boys that their punishment was that they could not enter my house for a week and they cannot watch “The Lion King.” Ironic as this may be, I vividly remember getting in trouble. Mom took away all of my stuffed animals and left one out so I could have a reminder of what I did. Although I no longer remember what I did…I do remember that stuffed animal was Simba; funny how things have come full circle thousands of miles away.

So Jules, I apologize for terrorizing you. But I looked up to you. I am hoping now that I can be the positive role model that you were to me to these boys. I think that I am doing just that. Once you get over “kids being kids” they are wonderful, smart, funny boys who just are interested in what’s going on my life; exactly the same way that I was interested in yours.

I am hoping that I am doing just that. I was tired of them asking to use my stuff constantly and feeling guilty when I said no. So I told them I would help them start their own business. For my selfish reasons, I gave them a loan in the form of bags of candy. The kids are excited that they are starting their own business. They are slowly paying back their credit to me and I have come to find out that they are amazing little business men. They just needed a little help to get them started on their quest to own a soccer ball.

So this is long, I know. But I wanted to let you know that the patience that you learned with me, I am now learning. I looked up to you and I think I turned out ok. I may have annoyed the hell out of you along the way, but I would like to think that we have had more fun than anything else. So, I hope to be the example that you were to me to these boys.

Your adoring sister who cannot wait for you to come to Meiganga and meet my “siblings.”

The 3 can you stay upset with these faces?

The boys who I started the business with...from left to right: Eneta (6), Apalo (9), Danata (12) and Epo (15)

1 comment:

Eileen Paulin said...

Danielle, while it is true you were a little terror at times (remember, I had a balcony seat!), you were no match for this little gang of pesty boys. You are a wonderful writer. You tell your stories so beautifully and with a matchless wit and humor. And to think your mother and Julie did not have to wait until you had your own kids to get even. (Your Dad is under the impression you were a perfect child.) Keep the stories coming!
Thank you for the real sent-in-the-mail letter. We all loved it! Sarah and Brendan were home and read it too.