When I was around 10, I started strutting my stuff. My skinny little legs jutted out from my shorts that we used to wear to school in the hot summer days before summer break. I wanted to grow stronger and be a man - this was my ultimate goal.
All I knew was that mom told me I had to eat all the food on my plate and all those starving orphans in China (so ship my food to them if they were so hungry!!!) to be big and strong like my father was. He was a big man. 6'6" and bulky - strong. The kind you wouldn't want to pick a fight with, although I never saw him in any kind of fight. It was just the idea that he could if he wanted to.
I hadn't hit my growth spurt yet and didn't care much about food (how things have changed). I remember squishing the food around on my plate until everyone was yelling about not wasting food. I used to sneak table scraps to the dog and he'd sleep with me, his favorite, in gratitude, making my sisters mad.
One day I come home from school and I'm itching my legs inside my shorts. My mother takes one look at me and says "Oh my God!" and rushes me to the doctor's office. Sure enough, I had the chicken pox.
Within a day my entire body was peppered with the little red dots and boy did they ITCH! I scratched them until I was bloody raw and sore. My mom tried everything she could - calamine lotion, a cortisone shot, tying socks around my hands. I'd still itch and soon became one giant scab.
I'd never been sick a day in my life. Not even a cold. This was a strange and alien feeling - being sick. I didn't like ie ONE BIT. But the great part as that I got ALL the attention in the house. My sisters were nice to me, bringing me food and drinks and letting me watch whatever I wanted to on TV. I was relishing this power I had just by being sick, and milked it for all it was worth - asking my sisters just as one of them would sit down if they could get me some milk or cookies - all with a big, sad faced look and they'd look at me, trying to judge whether I was manipulating them or not and then sigh and get me whatever I needed.
I started feeling better, but still loved the attention so faked it more, getting my mother to tuck me into the sofa with extra pillows and brining me soup and hot chocolate with sprinkles, just the way I liked it.
I couldn't deny it too long though. I was starting to feel better and soon enough wanted to go out and play with my siblings & friends.
Until my sisters walked through the door that afternoon and both of them had the red dots on THEIR legs, same as my brother who came home a little while later.
Imagine having to wait on all THREE of them at the same time while they were sick and getting me back for all the "requests" I'd asked of them! I hated them.