“I need my privacy, so come on in” is an often-quoted saying around my household. It dates back to 1993 with my sister Hayley, and her inability to understand why others don’t like to keep the doors open when they use the bathroom. Growing up the youngest of four sisters, the concept of “sharing is caring” was as overused as the footie pajamas that were passed down through three Hughes sisters before they were given to me. We shared toys, dolls, toothbrushes (gross, I know, but if you have siblings, you know this struggle) and even a bedroom. Yes, four tiny girls shared one big room for 7 years on our family farm before moving to the city and upgrading to two rooms of two, but despite the room accommodations, it was more cramped than ever. As a kid, I always had lone-wolf tendencies. Back on the farm, I would leave my sisters while they were playing and would run up to the highest hill on our farm to watch the sunset while eating sour tangerines. This was my privacy; a physical escape from my inescapable sharing-reality that plagued my childhood existence.
In our new home, the things we shared grew up with us; our American girl dolls and Polly Pockets were swapped for makeup, clothing and even more tragically, a car. And whenever I explained my situation, I was bombarded with comments from my only-child friends saying things such as, “I could NEVER do that,” and, “but what about privacy?” To that I would sort of just shrug. I mean it’s not like I didn’t want my own space or my own things – it’s not like I enjoyed the fact that every morning my eyeliner was always in a new place in the bathroom or that, for the life of me, I could NEVER find a bra.
Whenever I was feeling overwhelmed and in need of privacy from my sister and our room, that looked like Elle magazine’s fashion closet meets Extreme Hoarders. I would sometimes hide in my closet. I know this sounds super creepy, but I didn’t have farmland to explore, so I would just fold myself up into the fetal position and just think as I lay in that dark closet. All I ever wanted was my own room, my own private room; I didn’t want to share anymore. Devon’s vintage dresses smelled like moth balls and were hanging to dry everywhere, Kelsey always left her books in weird places and I would constantly see tagged photos of Hayley wearing my new clothes on Facebook.
As we’ve grown up and my sisters have moved out or moved away leaving lil ole me in our house, I find myself missing those damn mothball dresses. Falling asleep is a lot more difficult without having someone to ask you how your day was or giving you a detailed list of everything they ate that day (nothing would put me to sleep faster, sorry Hayley). I miss those chaotic mornings when all four of us would be running around trying to get ready sharing one bathroom, constantly running into each other and accidently ruining someone else’s eyeliner concentration. I miss us all packing into Devon’s purple pickup truck like clowns in a clown car. I miss four sister group hugs that would occur whenever one of us was sad. And while I resented it for so long, If I could say anything to my sisters after years of not all living together anymore it would be “I need my privacy so come on in.”