Today you bought Loli the lizard she’s been asking for all summer. And I’m so happy you did this for her, that she got what she wanted; I am genuinely and truly happy that it worked out. But I can’t help but ask myself…
why is it that she always gets the things I want first? And I know, if you ever see this, that the first thing that will pop in to your head is the fact that you got her a laptop for Christmas and I had to wait for my birthday, three months later. But actually, I’m thinking much earlier.
I wanted, so badly Dad, so bad that I still remember to this day, nearly a decade later that I wanted to go fishing with you. Nowhere fancy, just you, me, and some fishing poles and probably no fish. You’ll use the excuse that you get sea sick easily, but think this through…
Loli asks to go fishing and two weeks later, we’re out on a lake. A year after that, she wants to go fishing again, and we’re on a boat, speeding through the bay and you’re vomiting over the rail. It was fun, really; especially since Loli caught like seven fish, and those are just the one that she was able to keep. But…why could we have just sat on the dock like I asked you to ten years ago, when I was the only daughter?
When Loli was four and I was eight, she asked Santa for a kitten. And what did she get? A kitten. How long had I asked for more than just the fish we had? I know I asked for a pony, but I would hope you know my love of animals transcended to any pet. And I’ll go back to the laptops. I am the oldest, don’t I get dibs? Ha, not only that…I wanted it first. I know, a childish defense. But Loli doesn’t even believe in Santa Clause, I wrote a full on letter to Santa and guess what else you took from me last Christmas? The magic. Third Christmas in a row that I cried; you thought it was because I didn’t get a computer, and while I was upset over it, my tears were for the loss of Santa, who made Christmas worth celebrating. It hurt, too, more than anything, that you thought so little of me that I’d cry and get mad because you’d given my non believer little sister a computer before me. True, it hurt, but really? Do I appear so selfish.
And now dad, the matter of the reptile.
We moved to the valley how many years ago? Five? After four months of living here, I made it clear that no, I did not want a love bird to replace the one that had died (need I mention the fact that you were the reason it died?…) I wanted, in fact, a snake. And I have kept through that desire, despite the fact that you got Copper. Two years ago, we were in a pet shop for Loli, buying fish. And it was nearing my birthday. There happened to be love birds near by and I guess it entered your mind to..what? prove you were a thoughtful parent? You asked if I wanted one. I said no. You asked why? I’d been asking for one since we moved here.
Um, no; actually, I haven’t. And I made it extremely clear that I wanted a snake. I kept at it, finding ads and asking around. There was even that one time that I found a person willing to give out a Boa for free. At first, you agreed. And then, on the drive home from the supermarket, in that mad, argumentative voice that you had, lecture me about not believing it was right to hold animals in captivity. So I pretty much dropped it then. I still mentioned occasionally that I wanted a snake, but I never pressed. I’ve never enjoyed arguing with you.
And yet…two years later; Loli is sitting on the floor staring into the tank at her captive pet lizard and I am left wondering, do I not matter?