I have four sisters. Yeah, I know. I don’t know what my parents were thinking, either. They look so young and innocent, don’t they?
Actually, we all blame Dad. He had that “I Want A Boy” syndrome that drives women to drink. After five daughters, though, even the old man had to give it up. I don’t know how my parents survived it. Well, Dad was in sales and the Bass Club of America, so he was away a lot when I was little. In truth, I don’t know how Mom did it. I’m not even sure how some of us girls survived it (especially the teen years).
Growing up, we were naturally divided into two groups – the “big kids” and the “little kids.” Sister #1 and I (yes, I am #2 – keep your comments to yourself, Peanut Gallery) were the big kids.
We were born 15 months apart, and grew up with that “we were friends first” bond that first siblings share. Sister #3 came along almost 4 years later and started the “little kid” explosion. Every 18 months or so, Mom gave birth to yet another girl. We started to think she was in the “Baby of the Year” Club, like the Weekly Reader program, but for infants. What can I say? Mom’s initials as a kid were M.O.M. – she should have seen this coming.
She finally threw in the towel at 5 daughters, and who could blame her. Not to be graphic, but do you realize how many feminine hygiene products that woman had to buy over the years? It’s insane! She should have invested in Kimberly Clark and Midol. Dad invested in MGD (Miller Genuine Draft) and fishing gear. That was his escape. But we made it. We all made it through.
Years have passed now and we all have families of our own. It amazes me that we all grew up in the same house with the same parents and yet we all are different and unique. I like that about us. We all have different interests and tastes. We all had different experiences in school and participated in different activities. We had separate interests and hobbies. We played different sports or practiced different arts. We picked completely different types of men as spouses (or no spouse at all). We all raised our children differently. And yet, we all click when we come together. All those differences are like pieces of a worn, favorite puzzle. All that diversity makes us all fit. I still don’t know how my Mom pulled it off, but she raised five smart, independent, creative girls who love to laugh. Sarcasm and humor are part of our DNA. It’s our coping mechanism. And when we’re together, hilarity always ensues. But you can read more about that in my “Hoegaarden” stories. Yes, it’s named after a beer.
In closing, I’d like to say “thanks, Mom!” You are our rock and our foundation. You taught us to cook, clean, sew, do laundry & dishes, fish, dig a camp toilet, fend for ourselves, pay our bills and be fiercely independent. You showed us how to use common sense to solve life’s challenges. You taught us to love things like coupons, greenstamps, Tupperware, chocolate, fresh vegetables from a garden, homemade jelly, handmade quilts and antiques. You also helped us find the humor in everyday life, and that’s really important. Thanks for being honest with us when we screw up and cheering for us when we soar.
For good or bad, you left an indelible mark on the world when you unleashed the five of us. Sorry, world. No take-backs!