On the other side of the selfie is a five-year-old girl, carrying her baby brother around after supper. Clad in a puppydog onesie, reminding her of a little puppy, he’s solid, warm, and squishy. (Wait! Don’t tell my daughter who is hoping for a dog of her own. . .soon.) It’s her favorite thing to do, carrying this baby puppy boy around.
On the other side of the selfie is an eight-year-old girl and her brother of three. With the help of six-year-old sister, a cheerleading stunt is performed, but the legs where he is to perch are not prepared for thirty-five pounds of boy, and down to the ground he falls. There he lands with a thud but nary a cry. He is cheered by one of their best stickers.
On the other side of the selfie is a thirteen-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother, assembling a bed frame in his brand-new room. The move has been frustrating and younger siblings are annoying and the words that spring from her mouth aren’t kind.
On the other side of the selfie is a fifteen-year-old girl, squeezed into the van next to her brother who is now ten. The road trip is long, the two bench seats crowded with her five younger siblings, and why was he allowed to eat so much dried fruit?
On the other side of the selfie is a seventeen-year-old girl, completely absorbed in a world all her own. Her twelve-year-old brother makes a joke that’s not funny when he acts like a letter from Virginia is held behind his back. Upon discovery of this deception, she backhands a blow to his forehead, and the boyfriend’s class ring leaves a serious mark.
On the other side of the selfie is an eighteen-year-old girl off to college, not realizing at all that she might be missed. Thirteen is tall and growing quite handsome and visits her once, and she feels so proud.
On the other side of the selfie, life moves ever on. They keep growing older, and scenery changes in some ways, and yet, in many stays the same. The sister gets married, the brother hits college, the sister has babies, the brother, he jokes. And then turn the tables, and he’s the one married, and just to play fair, she has cousins for his kids.
On the other side of the selfie are two kindred spirits, one quite aware of it, the other not so much. Both of them firstborn and bearing the brunt of that. Both of them journeying but not that journey, no. Somehow they ended up the ones left together to do life together, whatever that means.
On the other side of the selfie is talking and getting it and just the right word that can set them both off. It’s memories and laughter and road trips and fireworks and it’s pain and it’s heartache all rolled into one. It’s taking a selfie, that very first selfie. It’s the dark clouds above them with light breaking through.
On the other side of the selfie.