I am the third child out of seven. In the family dynamics, the three oldest are the “older kids,” the 4th child is solidly the “middle child,” and the last three are definitely the “younger kids.” All activities were based around these social casts. There is no moving in and out of casts no matter who got married first or who has the most children.
And we are all two years apart. If the year is odd (like 2005) we all turn odd numbers (except the youngest), even our parents. It is all very calculated and orderly except for the last two; they are 15 months apart. Oops! Gasp! Sob!
Since I have an amazing memory of 27 years ago (and a lousy memory of 27 months, days, or minutes ago) I can proudly share with you some of my earliest memories:
Emily Johanna #5 born Aug. 23, 1978 Gotenborg, Sweden I knew my mom was going to have a baby and I wanted to be a part of it. After all, I had had to endure all the prenatal exams with my younger sister, Sarah, in tow. I felt like I had a right to BE there. I begged to go to hospital the night my mom went into labor saying, (imagine this cute, tiny little voice…)”I promise I will stay in the car and I won’t say anything!” (I had the tendency to talk a lot…my first word was “water fountain” for crying out loud…).
But to no avail…. When my parents came home from the hospital, I was down the street on the neighbor’s lawn eating clover. (I had a HUGE fascination for eating things that grew outside, mainly, green raspberries and parsley).
Emily was a good, and beautiful baby. The siblings and I had endless fun with her. My favorite photo is of Emily at about 5 months old sleeping on the kitchen floor on a plastic ice cream lid. My mom was a super busy lady, and we were not the most conscientious babysitters…
Spencer James #7 born July 21, 1981 Cape Girardeau, Missouri (where? Exactly…) I don’t even remember my mom being pregnant for this one. She was in maternity clothes for most of my childhood. But I do remember waiting for her to come home from the hospital. Again, I was down the street on the neighbor’s drive way with the dog’s leach, sans the dog, swinging the leash like a feather boa and singing, “Another one bites the dust, yeah, another one bites the dust…”
Spencer was the MOST adorable baby and toddler: golden complexion, golden curls, dimples… ahhh, I miss him soft and cuddly. He’s tall, boney, and whiskery now…
My favorite Spencer snapshot is him at 2 wielding a hose and knowing he all the power in the world; no one could touch him.
So you’re probably wondering about number 6? I remember the sweltering heat we were having in St. Louis in the month of May in 1980 ( the year of the huge heat wave that made us all sleep in the basement for days…), I remember my grandmother coming to stay with us and making us an endless supply of pudding pops… but the baby? No…not really…
Abigail Jean born May 1, 1980 St. Louis, Missouri (so they say) I vaguely remember bald, HUGE eyes, but little else. She was just the hairless monkey that constantly clung to my mother’s hip forcing Emily to become and independent and bossy toddler. Before we could even sneeze, Spencer had arrived and had stolen the spotlight with his aforementioned charm.
But when I was about 10 or 11 I discovered Abby. She was 4 or 5. It was like finding a toy you had forgotten about. In my mind she was the forgotten child, sandwiched between the younger kids (lowest status: middle child of the younger kids…). I felt sorry for her much like I felt sorry for my brother’s old Star Wars and Star Trek toys.(I especially felt sorry for Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock because they had to wear pants that were tucked into their high-heeled boots, and that was SO UNSTLYLISH!)
I think I even thought my parents had forgotten about her. They HAD left her in the back of the van asleep when they took it to the dealer. They remembered, like, 3 hours later…
She was little and blond and still had the huge eyes; she was fun and she was definitely needy. AND she was small enough to carry around; like a back pack. She had clung, so to speak, to her clingy ways and soon acquired the nickname “Squirrelly” and I was her dear “Tree Branch.”
Over the years we’ve had our ups and downs. At one point, I was writing my mother letters because I HONESTLY thought Abby was crazy and needed help. My mom saved those letters and reads them to me over the phone every once in a while, pretending to “just have come across them.” I was just trying to help…
We have been close and we have been distant. The worst thing I ever said to her was, “You’re crazy…” when I really meant it knowing full well it was the WORST thing I could have said to her. She responded appropriately. We made up a few days later.
This sister has brought a lot of joy into my life, as have ALL my darling sisters. Over the years, her nick names have morphed and evolved into the greatest nick name of all: one that carries the weight of heritage and responsibility. My little toy is, and ever will be, my Boo.
This blog is the dedicated to the spawn of Boo, due to appear around July 29, 2005.