As we celebrated your birthday this past weekend, I thought about how fortunate I am to have you as a sister and a friend. How we would argue, as sisters often do, but how grateful I am that our relationship now is better than ever. And I feel like maybe it's time that I come clean about something...
Remember those bath salts that you bought for Mom way back when you were in kindergarten? Our school was having a Christmas Bizarre Bazaar and all of the students got to shop for presents. I was either feeling like a particularly selfish nine year old that year, or just practicing discerning spending habits, I'm really not sure which. Either way, I didn't end up buying anything for anyone. When you asked for a secret meeting in the bathroom that night, I knew something was definitely off. We sat there on the cold bathroom floor, and as you stuck your chubby little hand inside a brown paper bag, my heart sank. You proudly pulled out a decorated baby food jar filled with homemade bath salts, and you looked just a little too smug for my taste when you said, "I got this for Mom for Christmas!" Your blue eyes were wide with excitement and I knew I had to think fast. My favorite child standing would certainly come crashing down if I allowed you to bestow this token of unselfish giving while I came up empty handed. I mustered up my most serious face as I told you, "Eva, you cannot give those to Mom. I don't know what you were thinking, those are poisonous!" Stubborn as you were, it took a little more convincing to release those bath salts from your grip. When I revealed that just one bath with those unassuming salts would put our mother's life in danger, I knew I had hooked you. First that perfect, angelic little smile started to fade, and then those blue eyes started to well up with tears. Relief began to wash over me... I had won! I wouldn't be the only one without a gift for Mom under the tree that year after all! Success tasted so sweet... but then, I watched the first tear roll down your little cheek, and then the second. All of a sudden, the sweet taste of success was replaced with bitter regret. How could I have done this? I had tainted this generous act of love, crushed your Christmas spirit, and your chance to experience the joy of giving. But it was too late, I couldn't go back now. I was the big sister, and everything I said and did was right.
I don't remember what happened next, Eva. I suppose over the years of trying to block it from my memory, the ending has gotten a little fuzzy. But I can never forget. I can never forget the pain that my lie caused you that night. And I tell you now with the utmost sincerity that it has been one of the most, if not the most, shameful experience of my life. And I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I told you those bath salts were poisonous.
Please forgive me.