Baby, you’re a hand me down.
A few Christmases ago, my dad was fixing a bike. This awesome, black, shiny, racing bike, with a light weight frame, and those creepy tiny pedals that you have to put your foot on just right to ride.
You would feel JUST LIKE Lance Armstrong on this bike. Except, no cancer, or yellow jersey.
He asked me if I would test it out, ride around the neighborhood with him and this new member of our biking family. HELL YES, I will. We ride around a little bit, and I feel like Speedy Gonzales, if he weren’t a mouse, and could ride a bike.
“What do you think?” Dad asks me, when we stop at a corner to take a breather.
“It’s nice,” I say. “It’s awesome. Seat’s a little low, though.”
“Oh yeah,” Dad responds. “It’ll be perfect for your sister.”
My poor heart. But this is my life. I, as the younger sibling, was the curse of the hand-me-down.
If you are the youngest sibling, or a middle sibling, or anywhere in the line up that isn’t the first born, you know this feeling. You know what it’s like to get to school and have a teacher that’s had your sibling and introduces you to the class as “Another [last name] child,” or “Mini VS,” or even better, starts your high school career with the phrase, “I hope you’re as smart as your sister is.”
You know what’s it like to have to correct people on your name, when they call you by your sibling’s, or flat-out forget yours. You know the feeling of driving a car that may or may not have battle wounds because your older sibling freaking turned 16 first.
I am a prime example of the hand-me-down.
I wore VS’s clothes when she outgrew them. I got her old shoes. At one point, I remember ripping her old notes out of notebooks before using them as my own in high school (this may have been partly my fault because I did not get enough notebooks when we went school shopping. It may also be my parents’ fault because they neglected to take us school shopping until after school started.). My first car was her first car before it was my first car. And of course…there were the bicycles.
“I was so upset when I found out that was going to be your bike,” I tell VS on the phone. “But it’s okay, because if you think about it, every time you got a new bike, I got a new bike too!”
VS cracks up. “And here’s your new bike, L.A.! Behind curtain number two is….VS’s OLD BIKE!!!”
Now we both laugh.
As time has passed, I’ve accepted the hand-me-down curse because it really is a family thing. Other things get passed down too, that make it more bearable. Like if VS broke a rule when she was 17, by the time I got to be 17 and broke that same rule, it wasn’t a big deal anymore. Or if VS and I go out now…the bill gets passed up, instead of handed down (she makes more money than me, and she offers!).
Plus, since she is still in possession of that bike that was never mine, and resides in a different state, that bike could not be handed down. Which means, I got my very own shiny new bicycle.
Which is shinier than VS’s.
By the way. If you’re disgruntled about the hand-me-down law, don’t be. It could be worse.
That first car of mine, which was the first car of VS’s? By the time VS had it, it was 8 years old. By the time I drove it, it was 12 years old.
Then I got pregnant.
L.A.’s Mom: We need to get you a new car.
L.A.(extremely excited): I get a new car?!
L.A.’s Mom: Yours isn’t safe.
L.A.: I’ve been driving it for the past year.
L.A.’s Mom: Oh, well, it’s safe for you. But not for the baby.