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Additional Credits:
As always, I take all the credit and all the blame. I work with no one.
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Published June 07, 2011

We were driving to the library yesterday when the subject of birthdays came up.  Maj will be eleven soon.  Which is just crazy.

Maj is several years away from driving anything but her soap box car, but she likes to torture her sister when she can.  As we drove, Maj announced, “Kallan, I’m going to be sixteen a whole two years before you.  For two whole years, I will be able to drive a car while you’ll be doing what you always do.”

Kallan looked up from her cell phone, “What?”

Not driving a car. Duh.”

Kallan was actually pretty excited to think about someone other than Mom and Dad having the power to take her places, even if that person was her older sister.  “You could drive me to the movies!  Or to my friends’ houses!  Or to the park!  That will be so cool!”

Maj curled her lip (I didn’t see this, because I was in the front seat, but her lip was definitely curled), “I so don’t think so.  What would be the point of having a driver’s license if I am not able to drive away from . . . you?”

I shifted in my seat to talk to Maj in time to see her making little brushing away movements with her fingertips in the direction of her sister.

“Mommy!  Maj is being mean!”

I glared at Maj, “Yes, well . . . what Maj might be forgetting is that she won’t be able to buy a car when she is 16.  She’ll be using Mommy’s and Daddy’s cars.  And when you want to use someone else’s car, that person sometimes lets you use the car only if you run an errand for them.”

Maj eyed me suspiciously, “What kind of errand?”

“Like stopping at the grocery store for bread.  Or getting the car washed. Or . . . like dropping your sister off somewhere.”

Kallan broke in, “SOMEWHERE?? You’re going to have to be more specific than that or Maj is just going to drop me off somewhere on the side of the road.”

I high-fived Kallan through my laughter, “Good one!”

“No, I’m serious, Mom.  Make sure you tell her exactly where to drop me off.”

“That seems like a bad deal for me,” grumbled Maj.

“Plus, Mom will probably make you pick me up, too!  That will be excellent!” Kallan crowed.

Maj was quiet for a moment and then, “How much would my own car cost, anyway?”

“Way more than your allowance, Maj.  And even if you get your own car,” Kallan informed her as we climbed out of the car, “it might turn out you need me anyway.”

“And why is that?”

“Well, if you don’t get any taller than you are now, you’re going to need someone else to work the pedals.”  She ran giggling ahead of her slightly shorter older sister and through the library doors.

“Mommmmmm!!  Can’t you do something about her?”  Maj blocked my path and tried to wilt me with an angry stare.

I stepped around her and ignored the glare, “I just don’t see why you couldn’t have been excited about driving and also have been nice to your sister.  Would it have killed you to have agreed to drive your sister to her friend’s house . . . five years from now?

“I don’t want to drive her anywhere.”

“Well, baby,” I said as I put my hand on top of her head and steered her toward the library, “then I hope you don’t need your sister to work the pedals.”

When we got back home, Mark agreed to supervise the two girls as they practiced riding their bikes up and down the street in front of our house.  Before moving here, Maj and Kallan had never ridden their bicycles on a regular road; they had always ridden in parks and on hiking paths.  They both seem overly confident of their ability to share the road with cars, and it makes my stomach hurt to watch them swoop down the block and back.  So I was happy to start one of my library books while Mark did bike duty.

For about 15 minutes.  And then it all went to hell.

First Maj came pounding up to the door and threw her helmet into the closet.  “Daddy’s yelling at me about how I have to stop bossing Kallan, but he’s letting Kallan ride on the big street, and she is not allowed to do that!”

“OK, but between you and Dad, who would be the one in charge of Kallan?”

“That is not the point!  Daddy is letting Kallan be dangerous!  Someone needs to speak up!  And then he just yells at me.”

“Plus,” she added over her shoulder as she went in search of a snack, “Kallan tried to run me off the road, and Daddy didn’t even do anything.”

And then came a shouting angry Kallan, followed by loud Dad demands that she go up to her room and stay there for a while.

I grabbed Kallan’s helmet from Mark’s hand as Kallan stomped past me, “Geez, what happened?”

“She wanted to go out onto the big road, and I let her go on the big road for a minute, but then she wouldn’t come back.”

Maj gave me a “See?  What did I tell you look ?” from behind her father.

Mark went on, “She starts screaming at me about how I’m not listening to her, and she won’t listen to me, and she keeps screaming, and then she just threw her bicycle in the road and threw herself into the ivy.”

He looked at me in frustration, “She just lay there screaming in the ivy, her bike in the road.  She looked like she had been hit by a car.”

He ran his hand through his hair, “So I can’t just walk away like I want to, because I can’t just leave her crying in the ivy on the side of the road.  I know the next car is going to stop to check on the poor injured girl.  And then I’m going to look like an idiot.”

Kallan’s still screaming about her cruel father from her room, and Maj is “I told you so-ing” with her eyes.

And then with her voice, “I told you not to let her go on the big road.”

So then Maj was sent to her room as well.

Mark sank into the couch, “What is wrong with them?  I try to do something nice, and they’re both just nuts.”

“Just think,” I said as I sank down next to him, “How much fun you’re going to have teaching them how to drive.”

Mark smiled, “No, I’ll only have to teach Maj.”  He snorted with laughter, “and then Maj can teach Kallan.”

Yeah, that will work.

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