On February 21, 2015 our family gathered around my mother one last time.
As we stood there with our arms wrapped around one another, I spoke up.
"Mom, I have something to tell you..."
My first brother was born in October of 1976. My sister, Kristi, and I were excited to finally have a sibling. It had just been the two of us for quite a while. We were 7 and almost 6 and eager to take care of him.
One of our favorite things to do was feed him his bottle. Was it because we loved to hold him? No. Was it because we wanted to give Mom a break? No. It was because of what was in the bottle.
That's right. Lime-flavored Jell-O. She would mix some of the gelatin powder in warm water for Ryan to drink.
Kristi and I would fight to take turns feeding him. As we watched him guzzle that sugary goodness, sometimes the temptation was just too great and we would quickly pull the bottle out of Ryan's mouth, and put the nipple in our mouth and drink.
We would drink out of the bottle!
Then we would quickly put it back in Ryan's mouth hoping we wouldn't get caught.
You know what they say about keeping secrets?
Two people can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.
In our case,
Two sisters can keep a secret as long as both of them have the same secret.
Somehow we both decided that drinking out of the bottle was the worst sin that could be committed. It trumped all other sins.
"I'm going to tell Mom you just hit me."
"Then, I'm going to tell Mom you drank out of the bottle."
For years we held onto the secret that we had drunk green Jell-O water. Until...
"Mom, I have something to tell you... Kristi drank out of the bottle."
I feel so much better.