We’re down to the last installment of “reminiscing about my siblings”.
Janell was the ninth child, was born on December 9th, and weighed 9 lbs 9 oz. The baby of the family. You would guess that she’s this meek, little girl who does whatever anyone says to her. She’s used to being bossed around, right?
It’s true, she has a lot paths blazed before her already, but I think she’ll take her own way. If she can only get over being timid. When we would ask mom if she would make us a peanut butter sandwich, she would wiggle her fingers at us and say, “Poof! You’re a peanut butter sandwich.” Fifteen years later, she instead hops up and grabs the bread, jelly, and peanut butter for her.
She stayed with me one summer during harvest. She was too little (around nine, I think) to do anything productive in the fields and I was off for the summer, being a teacher and all. She lasted a few days while Janell, my kids, and I went to the playground, the pool, or shopping. Once at the playground, I made up an obstacle course she had to follow under a stopwatch. It was supposed to be fun until the course took her over a tall dome where she proceeded to lose her stepping and half fall into. She was crying, and I felt horrible since I broke my little Janell. Just a scrape along her shin bone, but I felt horrible none the less. We had to go see what harvest was doing, so about two days after she called mom, homesick, we spent a few days at her house instead.
Mom did make her call all of her sisters to ask permission to get her ears pierced six months early so they would be healed before volleyball began in the fall. I pretended to give her a hard time. She wasn’t 13 yet, and by god, I had to wait and so could she. I made sure she called everyone else first, which mom wouldn’t do for her. That naturally took a while so after some interrogation and a few days, I relented–which was my intention the whole time. Hmm. Not too long after that she pierced her ears again, but I didn’t receive a phone call on that one.
One summer, my six-year old daughter thought Janell’s jewelry was just pretty damn awesome. So awesome, in fact, she decided to take it home to admire it after we visited for a weekend. Janell was gracious enough to let me teach my daughter a lesson the right way and didn’t go off on her, like she probably should have. “But mom, Janell said I could have it!” Um, no she didn’t. She apologized, and gave it back with proper humbleness.
Janell is always in charge of her nieces and nephews, which won’t last for too much longer. They LOVE her as she is pretty cool to them. We can’t exploit her youngness for too much longer. She’ll take them on horse rides, slide down the hill on a home-made slip-n-slide, play video games with them. Heck, the oldest nephew is only around five years younger than her.
Not too long ago, when Janell was in junior high, she happened to have a mean girl in school. Shoot, all grades have at least two mean girls. I believe it stemmed out of a seventh grader (Janell) playing basketball over an eighth grader (mean girl). Janell is freakishly tall. At least for our family; now she hands clothes down to me. But none of her sisters actually had any physical altercations over it. (Mel did see a mean girl find shaving cream in her shoes. Mel claims she didn’t do it, but I also believed for ten years that she didn’t drink in high school.)
To make matters worse, Janell had been training and sparing with Doug when he was home to visit, and he had messed around with that kind of workout in a Kansas City gym. (I hope I didn’t inspire in him that choice of workout.) She even had sparing gloves. After a few weeks of that, the mean girl should have known better. It had been building at school and online, and of course that nasty little girl had no idea that Janell had a brigade of sisters and cousins to take their turn at burning that nasty little girl back. We were smart enough to really make a point with her, but obviously not smart enough to realize cyber-bullying can be serious. And traceable. We talked about it as a family, since it took months to build up to an actual fight anyway. We all agreed that she shouldn’t start anything, but she shouldn’t be pushed around. Mean girl tried to
jump talk to Janell by following her into the bathroom during school, yelled a little bit, and then pulled Janell’s hair. Janell ended it with a few good punches to the face.
Oh, and mom works at the school. Nice, Janell.
They both were suspended for a while, but everyone was in disbelief of how it went down. As a teacher, I understood that she had to be suspended, as did the other girl, but I was proud of her standing up for herself. Mom and dad felt the same way and she didn’t get into trouble at home. I think in her position I would have tried to talk my way out of it and then avoided that girl even if she would still be nasty. I think Janell’s way worked better. Besides, that girl moved away not too long after that. Problem solved.
Now Janell spends her free time during the summer riding her horse, Ace, and training it. She had been bucked off a few times, so mom wanted her to use a helmet, and moms are always right. None of us had to use a helmet on a horse, but only her and Kelsie had actually trained young horses and Kelsie had a nasty accident with one once. So Janell wore the helmet. For a little while. Mom wouldn’t let her take it off unless she could trot without any problems. What does Janell, a product of cell phones with video, do? She records herself trotting on the horse saying, “See mom? No problem.” But it worked since there is no more helmet.
She has a few years left to figure out who she really is, but she’s doing a great job so far. But beware, Janell, we are all watching you. Muhaahaahaa.