Updated: Jan 30, 2022
“Good eve … nope. That’s not right. Good afternoon, Vlog-osphere! I’m coming to you a little earlier. Had to accommodate someone’s early birdy schedule.” That someone cuts her brown eyes at me as I toss a playful smile her way then continue with my intro. “Whether it’s evening hours or midday, I want to welcome you to Tempa’s Nightly Secrets show with your host Rayna Norton-Leigh.”
My older sister, Zoie, looks over at me then begins to watch my every move as she shakes her head.
“That’s funny.” I know I shouldn’t, but I know I am. I also know it’s going to irritate me, but I have to do it. “You’re hilarious.”
“Zo, why am I hilarious?”
“There are so many reasons. You want me to narrow it down to one?” she raises her eyebrow, practically daring me to challenge her. This has been how things have worked with us for as long as I can remember. “That’s what I thought. Since when do you go by a hyphenate? You haven’t been Norton anything in years.”
“What are you talking about? No, Z. I’m not getting into this with you. Look what you’ve done. You ruined the introduction to the show.”
“You should probably change it anyway. It’s kind of long.”
“Are you kidding me right now? Did you come on here just so you can criticize me?”
She chuckles as she looks around my living room.
“I love that you put the family picture up in your makeshift studio. It’s nice. I think I’m going to put mine over the fireplace.” Is she serious right now? “It’s about time for us to … Hold on a second.”
“Sure. I’ll just wait to record my live vlog. It can wait until you finish your call.”
“Perfect. That’s great.”
Before I can ask her anything, she hops up from the chair then rushes to my front door.
“This is my house, right? Why are you … what’s going on? Tell me this is not happening right now.”
I watch as, one by one, the rest of my sisters stroll into my house. Almost all of them. The youngest isn’t with the group happily making themselves at home in my living room.
“Hey. This is great. I’m so glad we’re all here. I was so nervous thinking about doing this. Having all of y’all here makes me feel one thousand times better.”
“Why oh why did I think this was a good idea? What part of my brain said this would work out and could possibly be fun?”
“Stop it. Momma always said you were the most dramatic of us all,” my younger sister, Lynnia, says.
“Dramatic? I’m the dramatic one? That’s rich. Hello Pot meet Kettle. You’re black and you need to take a good, hard look in the mirror if you think I’m the dramatic sister.”
“Listening to the two of you a person wouldn’t believe the both of you are mothers.”
The door opens and my last sister joins the melee of wonderful that’s supposed to be my fun, easygoing evening show.
“Wow! It sounds like the Thanksgiving arguments are starting early this year.”
Every. Single. Flippin’. Time.
As much as my sisters and I love each other, almost every single time we get together some form of argument breaks out. The newest addition to our family, my little brother, blends right into the crazy.
“Z, help me understand. Why are all of our sisters here for what was supposed to be a quick sisterly chat.”
“Quick? Between you and Z. That’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told. If you’re listening out there, not one member of my family knows what it means to have a ‘quick’ conversation,” Lynnia says to the microphone.
I can’t believe I forgot that thing was on. Turning back to my mic, I take a deep breath then adjust my position in my chair.
“Hello there everyone. Sorry about the bit of chaos. As you can see, I have all of my sisters here with me and we are going to discuss family dynamics.”
“You’re going to have that conversation and not have all of your siblings here.”
That statement comes from the last person I expected to see darkening my doorstep today. The only reason I didn’t expect to hear from him is because he told me he was going to be in Colorado this Thanksgiving. He and our father were set to arrive tomorrow. I can’t believe he’s here a full day earlier.
We all rush to greet the youngest member of our group of siblings. We are now a group of eight. It doesn’t matter that we lost a sister oh so many years ago, we are still considered the Norton eight when people refer to us. Seven sisters and one brother.
After we finish the rounds of hugs and greetings, we each take a seat. Each of us shares a smile with the other before I look into the camera.
“These are my sisters and my brother. I’m going to have each of them introduce themselves before we begin our conversation. You’ve already gotten a glimpse into who we are. It took a lot to get us here, but I’m damn proud of who we are today. How do we want to do intros?”
“Oldest to youngest,” Wynter pipes up before anyone else can speak.
“For a second there, I didn’t think you were going to say anything today,” Zoie bumps our sister’s shoulder, and they share a smile.
It’s one of those smiles that lets everyone know they share a bond none of the rest of us have. Those two are the oldest and run things as they have been ever since we were little.
“I always have your back, Z. You know this.”
They nod and we all share a knowing glance. It’s always been that way with the two of them.
“We’ll be right back with those introductions. That start with my original first guest.