A Tale of Five Sisters

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?   

Mom & Dad on their wedding day

My Mom & Dad - Wedding Day

 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.    

"The Big Kids"

"The Big Kids" - NanaBread & Sister #1

 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.    

Sisters 3, 4 & 5

"The Little Kids"

 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.   

The Five of Us

 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.   

Our Mother

 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!


44 responses to “A Tale of Five Sisters

  1. Tina Hynes

    I Love your website! It’s fantastic and inspirational and personal…I could go on and on…. I look forward to MORE!!! Great job!

  2. No wonder you guys have such a big family. Your mother is gorgeous!

  3. I feel the same way about my 2 sisters…we are the same….but yet so very, very different – but get us together and we are the perfect bunch – laugh until we cry and most times “just get it”! We were given a great gift my our parents. I agree with Katie O. Your mom is gorgeous! With 6 kids, I am hoping that I am giving the same legacy of life long friendship that I have with my sisters!!! Only time will tell…..


    • Thanks to my mom, I strongly believe that a sense of humor and common sense are the two greatest gifts you can give to your children. If they have those two things, they can get through anything life throws at them. My mother instilled that in us, and now the five of us are passing it along to our children and grandchildren. By the way, you know there’s a special place in heaven for people who raise lots of kids, right? I think you’re set.

  4. sandy vincent

    That last picture of your mom….is she brandishing a knife? Trying to figure out what she’s holding. Maybe your dad just asked if they could try for a boy…. :) Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  5. SherryAnn

    Dear NanaBread
    Thankyou so much for sharing, I am the mother of 8, seven girls and one boy :). I just loved reading your story and one day hope that my girls, will look back on those memories we have made as a family and see how it has molded and shaped them into the wonderful people that they are. Just as in your family we have the bigs and the littles, and I just love to watch my babies share, laugh, love, and hold each other, I love my babies to the moon and stars… “Family is where your story begins” thanks so much for sharing!

    • SherryAnn,
      Thank you for such a sweet comment. I love the quote at the end. It’s wonderful, and true. I hope your children grow up to appreciate each other, differences and all, the way my sisters and I have. We appreciate and value each other much more as adults than we ever did as kids. Distance, age and maturity have a way of revealing what’s most important in life, and for me that’s always been family. I can’t imagine my life without my sisters, my mother and our big extended family. Thank you for visiting my blog, and for taking the time to leave such a heartfelt comment. I hope you’ll come back often. -NB

  6. Your parents are stunning, and I cannot imagine how it was being a father to five girls. My husband works on a ranch nearby, and his boss is 86 years-old. He and his wife had six daughters, and let me tell you, they had some wild times over there growing up. Old stories say he spent many nights in the barn…

    • Your statement “they had some wild times over there growing up” made me wonder if neighbors and friends thought the same about us growing up! That said, I feel pretty certain that if we’d had a barn back then, Dad would have been in it.

  7. I know its late for the reply since you posted in quite some time.. I have two sisters that makes us three. Growing up with them was quite a roller coaster I just cant image adding two sisters in my family…
    One thing is for sure what we fight about is who get in the bathroom first..

  8. gapgrad

    Your mother was stunning! Bless her heart; I’m pregnant with my first, and despite the fact that I’ve always wanted a big family (I was one of five too) the idea of being pregnant again makes me slightly hysterical. But maybe that’s just the hormones talking. Heh.
    I love your blog! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for the lovely compliment. I’ll tell my mother you said so. It will make her day. And best of luck with your pregnancy! So exciting. I only have one child, myself, but from what I’ve heard, it’s best to take these things one day/child at a time. Ha! Best wishes, and thanks for visiting. Please come back again any time. You’re always welcome here.

  9. Love your blog, found it through Tasty Kitchen :) I have 4 sisters too – definitely takes a special man to be a dad to 5 girls! So fun though, I wouldn’t trade my sisters for the world!

    • Thanks, Anna. I so happy you found me! Having four sister is like being a permanent member of a sorority. I would trade my sister, either. We may be a mixed bag of nuts, but we love each other despite it. Or maybe because of it. Stop by any time. You’re always welcome here. -NB

  10. The photos of you and your sister are adorable and it was heart-warming to read about your family.

  11. I have 3 girls myself (almost 19yo, almost 15yo, and 13) and I really give your mom a standing ovation! Some days I seriously think to myself “I’m gonna strangle that child~ she has lost her mind!”… I don’t of course… but I sure want to! (I pray the bickering and power struggles end when they mature! But if it doesn’t, please don’t tell me. Just pretend it does) ;)
    Anywho, Happy to meet you!! :)

  12. Tammy

    the last 2 emails I have received from you are completely blank. Have you had any other comments regarding this? Should I sign up again? Thank you. Tammy

    • Tammy, I just sent an e-mail with some information (Tues 2/28 @ 12:55pm CST). I’m hoping it will help. Thanks for letting me know this is still a recurring issue for you. I appreciate you letting me know but even more than that, I appreciate that you are committed to reading my little blog. Thanks so much!

  13. Very fun! I love your writing style you are fun and flavorful. :) I have 5 sisters and 4 brothers, so Mom and Dad did get their sons. But I can relate to a lot of what you wrote here. I just happened to randomly find you on The Pioneer woman, you just stood out for some reason so here I am. I loved the “thanks Mom” paragraph at the end.

    • Thanks, Jessica! I always felt we had a large family with 5 girls, but we can’t touch your 10! I have great admiration for parents who have the stamina to raise large families. I hope you have as much fun with your siblings as we do. Of course, it helps when you grow up and no longer live under the same roof. :) Thanks for dropping in to visit from PW’s site. I love that woman.

  14. Sylvia Sayers

    NanaBread, I stumbled upon your blog when I was looking for a waffle recipe and found you through PW. Haven’t made it yet, but will in the near future. I feel somewhat of a connection with you since I too came from a family of 5 girls, no boys. I was in the “little kid” group, which consisted of me and my twin sister. My dad used to say, when they started coming in sets, it was time to quit. Even though the “big kids” were our enemies when we were growing up, we are now best of friends. Love your blog and will continue to check in. Happy Holidays.

    • Hi, Sylvia! I’m so happy you found me! It’s not often I find someone who also grew up in a house with 4 sisters. I’ll try not to hold your status as a “little kid” against you. (I’m kidding; I’m a kidder.) It’s cool that you were also a twin. I think my mom would never have recovered if one of our little kids had been a set of twins, especially if it had been their last try and ended up pushing us to six. Holy cow! I shudder at the thought. We’re also the best of friends now that we’re grown. In fact, all the females in the family get together once a year for a ‘ladies only’ weekend we call Hoegarden. There are a few stories on the blog about our shenanigans. You should check them out. You might need to start your own weekend! It’s very nice to ‘meet’ you. I hope you’ll drop in again and again. -jeanne

  15. Have you seen this blog? It was freshly pressed a while back and I just revisited it recently and think it’s hilarious and spot on. From one “1 of 5 girls” to another, enjoy! :) http://themiddlestsister.com/

    • Oh my gosh… I love it! Love the 5-child humor, love the papercraft, love all of it. Thanks so much for sharing it! I think I’m about to lose a day browsing it. :)

  16. i found you site by accident and love it. I am the youngest of five sisters and we just published a book called ” Fluffy, Funny, and Fabulous: A Tale of Five sisters. http://www.thefivesisters.net. It sounds like we have a lot of things in common.

    • Hello! I’m so happy you found me! I am the second of five sisters, and I always enjoy meeting people who know what growing up with five girls feels like. Congratulations on your new book. I’ll definitely check it out. So nice to meet you! -jeanne

  17. Amy Gard

    I just found your blog and am so excited!! I too come from a family of 5 girls…!! I am the youngest and favorite (of course!). Looking forward to reading, laughing and making your moonshine with you! Thank you!

    • Hi, Amy!
      So glad you found me, and thanks for subscribing! I am #2 of five, and I also am the favorite (of course!). So happy to meet another stand-out sibling. Feel free to spend as long as you want here – days, in fact. :)
      Speaking of 5 girl families, have you seen The Middlest Sister? Nicole Smeltzer is a favorite of mine, and she creates her entire blog in paper art. It’s spectacular and hilarious. Check her out at: http://themiddlestsister.com/

  18. I am the youngest and Of Course Favorite… Although the olders ones called me spoiled. My website is http://www.thefivesisters.net.

    check it out.

    • Haha… we call our baby sister ‘spoiled’ too! I think it comes with the territory. Thanks for the link, Anita! I look forward to reading about you and your sisters. -jeanne

  19. Stacy Augusto

    This made me think of my family. My mom had 3 girls, me being the youngest. My older sisters were born 15 months apart and have that bond. I’m 6 years younger. My mom is our rock and foundation and always has been. My father invested in the same as your dad. My mother is from a family of 9 girls. When I watch her with her sisters, the relationships are so uniques and all so different. I’m happy to say my mom raised 3 smart, independent, motivated daughters. Thanks for sharing, I loved reading it!

  20. Hema

    Hi Nana,

    This made me think of my family too. I grew up with my 3 sisters and i am the eldest of all. We all have unique interest and hobbies. We always had two groups and we keep changing the groups depends on the coversation which most of the time ends up in a big fight. We tease each other group and all our secrets will be revealed. But our fights never lasted for more than 15 minutes , no matter what we love and care each other. I think that’s our biggest strength brings togetherness till our life ends.

    • Hello, Hema!
      Thank you for sharing about your sisters. While we all fought like cats & dogs as children, we are thick as thieves as adults. All for one, and one for all!

  21. michele ( mimi ) Elston

    I love your site. You are a beautiful family with great and traditional values so lacking in today’s society. I was raised in Europe ( Belgium ) and me and sis learned to do all things early in life. Much like your family. Thanks for those awesome recipes . It’s nice to have a new take on something yummy to make. Mom was the greatest baker and cook. Myself, I’m the seamstress in the family………
    Please keep all those great ideas coming. It’s awesome to see someone like you create a site that is so enjoyable. Thanks, Mimi

  22. Oh I love this! I thank you for following me on IG and Twitter. I subscribed to your blog. Not sure why I didn’t do that already!
    Hugs – Jett

  23. Tracy Jo Ehlers

    So happy to have found your writing. Youngest of 4 girls…

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