I have two sisters: an older sister (“Ajooma”) and a twin sister (“Mary Kate,” just for funzies. She’s SO annoyed that I’m calling her that, but now I can’t help myself). Mary Kate is super crafty and is great with attention to detail. (Ajooma is supremely talented in a lot of ways, but this post has more to do with this back-story. Bear with me.) Mary Kate used to have this small (maybe three-inch-tall) stuffed pig, and she used to use construction paper or scrap pieces of fabric to make outfits and costumes for it. One week, it was Rayden from Mortal Kombat. Another week, he was a French painter. Another week, he was something different entirely. Ultimately, we ended up calling him “Warrior Pig.”
Mary Kate had a knack for guessing how to strategically place the pig in places where you needed to go. Want some ice cream ? Poof! Warrior Pig was on top of the carton in the freezer. Want some popcorn? Bam! Warrior Pig was inside the box. Getting ready for bed? Spladow! Warrior Pig was leaned up against your pillow, waiting for you to join him for a sleepover.
When I was younger, I thought Warrior Pig was creepy. Over the years and the laughter, I’ve come to appreciate Warrior Pig as hysterical and as a kind of initiation process for people. Boyfriends and future husbands have been “Warrior Pig’d” in various ways. We joke about it. He’s now a staple of my childhood, all because my twin sister was creative enough to see what he could be and how much fun he could create. But at some point, the original Warrior Pig was discarded during a move or during an adolescence-turning-adult purge. I don’t remember what happened to him, but the more we remembered him, the more we missed him.
For two years, Ajooma and I lived together, waiting anxiously for the time when the three sisters could be reunited. We finally found a good three-bedroom in the spring of 2011. With Mary Kate finally moving back in with us, Ajooma and I thought it would be best to try to find a new Warrior Pig as kind of an initiation. Do you know how difficult it is to find a stuffed pig that isn’t huge? We were trying to find something that we could put into cabinets and trick one another with. Finally, we found a very French (fancy hat, painter’s slate and all) pig and decided he’d be Warrior Pig version 2.0. We gave it to Mary Kate as a move-in gift, and she loved it.
We’ve been Warrior Pig’ing each other ever since. In the medicine cabinet, in our purses, in our lunchboxes. When someone needs a pick-me-up, when it’s just a random thought, whatever. I love the tradition we’ve set for one another.
I had a really rough week last week. Add that to the fact that Mary Kate, her fiance, and I had moved in together and we weren’t sure how it was going to work. All of us were stressed and nervous and trying to make it work. Add to that the fact that our mother LOVES fake fikus plants, and we have one that we didn’t know what to do with. I was having a particularly emotional night, and Mary Kate and her fiance wanted to watch Star Trek. I went into the bathroom as normal, and came out, and both Mary Kate and her fiance were cracking up. They told me to go back in the bathroom and figure it out. I went back, and suddenly I noticed the fake fikus peeking out from the shower curtain, and when I opened the curtain, Warrior Pig was hidden among the branches. For the first time in a few very stressful days, I laughed out loud. And two days later, I hid Warrior Pig in the shower before Mary Kate’s fiance came home from work with a note that said “You’ve been Warrior Pig’d. Welcome home.”
That ridiculous childhood distraction has become somewhat of a staple for my sisters and I. It symbolizes creativity, fun, laughter, and love. And it’s a constant reminder of how I don’t know what I would do without my wonderful family and our special string of craziness.