Only Girl In The Family
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My Growing Up Years
Growing up with four brothers was a challenge to me. I am sure my brothers would love to share about me as an older sister, but this is my blog! They can write their own! I remember when the youngest was born. I was sent to stay with a Great Aunt and Uncle in New Jersey for two weeks. Don't get me wrong, they lived in a great house in the country and were very nice to me. Looking back, I remember wondering why I had to have another sibling. Of course, now I know that he was a hopeless attempt to have another girl! I was destined to be the responsible one, the only girl! That little brother was my favorite sibling for a long time. I helped feed, bathe and entertain him. When my Mom could not get him to cooperate, I was often called in to save the day! He looked at me as a Mom, a caretaker, and I didn't mind a bit. He had blonde curly ringlets as a baby and a smile that melted a stranger's heart!
One of the blessings of being an only girl was having my own room. You can guess that two brothers each shared a room! The downside of my birthing order was that my bedroom was often used by visitors who loved to stay for at least a week! I became the misplaced daughter several times a year!
At the age of twelve, I was grown up enough to babysit my four younger siblings. Because my Dad was career military, my parents had certain social obligations to meet. Their marriage included dinners and parties to attend and childcare problems to solve. I must admit that I was honored for the first few sessions of babysitting, but later began to resent this parent given privilege. My brothers were testy and rebellious to my directives, to say the least.
One evening, I decided that I would no longer babysit. I wrote my parents a letter giving my justifiable reasons why I should not resume my overseer position. They informed me that I still needed to step up to the need and help them out. From then on, they paid me by the hour for my help, which seemed to ease the discomfort of the situation a bit.
Did I mention the age range of my siblings? My oldest brother was fifteen months younger than me. My mom had five children in seven years! Brave woman! You can understand why the older brothers resented my guidance and direction!
During one evening of baby sitting adventures, my oldest brother tried to grab my arms to make a point. He has a small deep scratch mark on one wrist to remember that evening. To this day, he jokes about my long nails and the damage they inflicted so many years ago while we were growing up!
My little brothers were often victims of my bad cooking. In those days, we made hot chocolate with real milk and cocoa. One Saturday morning when my parents were sleeping in, I decided to make my brothers some hot chocolate to seal in their minds that I was a great big sister? Right. The directions called for a pinch of salt. Not knowing what a pinch of salt was, I added way too much salt and had to toss the whole recipe! My mom still loves to laugh at that memory! I did waste a whole lot of milk!
I spent a lot of car time with my siblings. Each summer, we would climb into a crowded station wagon to drive all the way to Florida to see family or drive to a new military assignment with Dad, usually halfway across the country. There were times that we irritated each other so much that my parents were probably ready to turn around and go home! "He touched me." "She is looking at me." You parents know what I am talking about!
My oldest brother was only a year behind me in school. When I was in eighth grade, he attended the same school for seventh grade. That meant that we were both in the same hall between classes. I remember my little brother wanting to tag along with my friends. This was the same brother that gave me so much trouble when I was baby sitting! I was mortified whenever he showed up and complained loudly at home to my parents. As an adult, I feel so bad that I treated my brother like a nuisance. He is a wonderful friend today.
I look back on my childhood and am amazed that we all turned out well. Because we live all over the United States, some of us have closer relationships than others. We came together recently to celebrate my Mom's eightieth birthday. It was a great weekend for all. Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday that we were riding across the country on a summer vacation! Ah good memories!
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