When I was five, I used to drive my brother, Jordan, crazy because I would tell stories about myself by starting with, “Back when I was four…” He hated that. He would say, “Meghan, you were four last year!” And I would feel very upset that he was pointing that out. I felt like I was more grown up and had stories to share about my “past.”
Well, I’m older now. Now that almost 20 years have passed, I feel like I can safely start my stories however I want. Tom likes to call me “stubborn.” (I have no idea what he’s talking about.)
Back when I was four (WHAT NOW, BRO!?), I was best friends with my dad’s partners’ daughters, Claire and Esther.
And well, we’re still best friends. Here’s a picture that was taken of us in college during Christmas break. We were really sophisticated.
There’s just something about growing up together that makes three completely different people bond in a way that will make them best friends for life. And we are really different people. Really different people who love each other to pieces and accept (and even appreciate) our differences.
I’ll probably tell a story about me and Claire sometime. But this story is about me and Esther, back when we looked like this:
Esther and I would take turns going to each other’s or another of our friend’s houses after church pretty much every Sunday. One Sunday, we had decided to play outside in our swimming suits. It was hot, so running around in barely any clothes made sense to us.
We both had woods at our houses, and this is where we headed. Imaginations were the source of entertainment for us, and we decided that this Sunday, we were Indian princesses. And by “Indian,” I really mean “Native American.” So we were wandering through “the woods where our teepees were,” and we decided that we needed to be like real Indians. We decided that meant we needed to put on beautiful, natural perfumes and make up.
Where do two little girls find that? Easy. We were surrounded with plants. We found some that had lots of oils that came out when we crushed them up, and we proceeded to smear them all over our bodies, even in our swimming suits and between our toes. Then we put the oils on our faces, making sure our lips, cheeks, and eyelids had plenty of oil on them because we wanted to have on “make up.”
That “make up?” That “perfume?” It was poison ivy.
Guess what we found out? We’re both highly allergic to poison ivy.
If you’ve ever wondered what that does to a person, I can tell you. We were so swollen and puffy that our eyes would barely open. We itched from the top of our heads to the bottom of our feet. Even our mouthes were puffy. We couldn’t wear shoes for over a week. It made us cry to take baths. We pretty much wore only loose little sleeveless dresses for over a week because anything rubbing our skin hurt. We didn’t even let our legs rub together or our arms touch our bodies.
To this day, Esther and I have never forgotten our miserable mistake. So why bring it up? Well, though I remember how much pain it caused me, I apparently did not remember what the stupid plant looked like. While visiting my parents, my dad pointed out a plant to me and said, “You know what that is?” No. No, I didn’t. “Poison Ivy,” he told me.
How. The. Heck. Did I not know that. I mean, I know that with poison ivy you look for the three leaf clusters. I know what it’s supposed to look like. What I didn’t realize is that of the three leaves, one of them can be way bigger than the others, which makes it harder to notice that they are in three leaf groups. Yikes. So now that I know, I want you to know too so you don’t have to ever endure what we endured. Twenty years later, I haven’t forgotten how awful it was.
Some other time, I’ll tell you more fun stories, like when I got attacked by a massive jellyfish or when I burned my skin to shreds by tanning. (I wish I was kidding.)
Be careful out there.