“Two inches!”

My sister texted me yesterday – 

“I see this week you’re doing a growing up in our family theme. Are you going to do a “2 inches” entry?”

So by request of my sister (and she gets all the blame along with the fame) and out of the files of “Things our mother said that have stuck with us forever” – the Great Two Inches Speech.

Last February, Josh and I were going to Barcelona and were in need of someone to make sure teens didn’t burn the house down and Maura got to school. When my sister Maryrose found out, she immediately offered to help us out.

Okay, so she might have been intoxicated at the time and I bribed her with cash and free flights. Honestly, it’s probably the state I’d have to be in to watch someone else’s teenagers as well.

My sister, as it turns out, is a fabulous nanny. Great with Maura (who instantly took to Auntie Mim and would sit next to her at the table working on her “computer” as well), and was just scary enough for the teens not to push limits with her. She is Queen of the Side Eye. All the women in our family have a variety of eyes – I was once told I had the Evil Eye. I took it as a compliment.

Maryrose also used to be in the Navy, is a horsewoman, and is in the music industry, promoting gigs, working gates, bouncing when necessary. A few slightly unruly teens didn’t scare her.

But one day, while I was lounging with sangria and tapas I’m sure, she sends me a message…

“I gave the teens the two inches speech. I can’t believe they’ve never heard it from you!”

And suddenly, I flashed back to life in the Big Blue House on 52nd Avenue, with my mother yelling “TWO INCHES! IT’S TWO INCHES FROM THE COUNTER TO THE DISHWASHER! STOP LEAVING THE DISHES ON THE COUNTER. PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER. IT’S ONLY TWO INCHES!”

Some things never leave you. Probably because the woman had to give that speech a lot.

It’s funny – in a way, my sister and I grew up in very different households, as we were ten years apart in age, and a lot of life happened in between my childhood and hers. But some things will never change. Like the Two Inches! speech. The fact that it came out of my single-lifestyle sister’s mouth makes me laugh. Then we re-enacted our mother’s speech for the teens which included going up to the offending pile of dishes above the dishwasher, and using our thumb and forefinger to show the very short distance between the two…well, we thought we here hilarious. The teens thought we’d lost our minds.

Which maybe we had. Because teens.

And yet, even though this speech is older than my sister, it never occurred to me until today to question if, in fact, the space between counter and dishwasher was actually two inches.

So I checked.

Mom was right, of course.

Two inches exactly
Two inches exactly…and in my teens defense, the dishwasher was running when they left these above it…

This is part of the 31 Days writing challenge…to find out more about it or read more from this challenge, check out the 31 Days page!