Sisters: What a surprise! #AtoZChallenge

S is for Sisters: What a surprise! Nineteenth of twenty-six posts in the April 2020 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Endwell: My Elementary Years”— where my genealogy journey germinated. Wish me luck! 

For most of my elementary years our family had a three-tiered structure — my parents, me and my two brothers, often grouped together as “the boys.” And I assumed it would stay that way forever.

Then just as I was entering adolescence, my mom was suddenly pregnant and I secretly hoped for a sister. Not that my brothers weren’t great — but I thought it would be nice to have another girl in the family.

Me and my new sister Amy (1961). At age 11, when I learned my mom was pregnant, I secretly hoped for a sister. Photo: Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence

Having a pregnant mom at age 11 was a learning experience — since I was still little when she had my brothers. For one thing, the doctor put her on a special day-by-day diet that was given out at the time to stabilize the mother’s weight — and which I studied from where it hung on the kitchen wall.

I still associate cantaloupe with Mom’s pregnancy because it seemed to be listed on just about every day — and we were well stocked with the melons for the whole nine months. Then there was the birth process itself — with Mom timing her contractions at the family dinner table by repeatedly asking my father, “What time is it now?”

Amy joins our family

After my parents left for the hospital, I remember waiting up in nervous anticipation for Dad’s return home — where we received the happy news that Mom had a girl, my sister Amy, just in time for Christmas! And just like that, our family now had four tiers.

Gramps and my siblings (1963). Having brothers AND a sister added a new dimension to my pre-teen home life. Photo: Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence

Parenting lessons

Yet my learning trajectory was not over — because now I got to see first-hand what parenting was like. The diapers, the late-night crying, the zooming of “airplane” spoons of baby food to get my sister to eat her dinner — this and more were imparted as I entered my teen years.

And pretty soon I had acquired the childcare skills I would need for my first job as a babysitter — both for my siblings and for younger neighborhood kids when their parents went out.

Carol joins the family

Meanwhile, my diary had given way to endless pre-teen entries about long-forgotten boys — who I liked, who my girlfriends liked, who was going with who, and who had broken up with who and was now available.

Jan. 1962 – Today on the way home from Amy’s baptism I saw Donny. I waved to him and he nodded his head at me.

Yet major family events still made it into print — like my parents’ announcement a couple years later that my mom was pregnant again! This time, with my teen hormones running wild, I was overwhelmed — and by the summer my sister Carol joined the family.

Dec. 1963 – Mom’s gonna have another baby!! I cried when she told me. I’m so glad Mom is gonna have a baby, I could die!

July 1964 – Mom had a girl — Carol. Can’t wait to see her!!

Our family during holiday season in 1964. That year my mom’s sister, Aunt Rita, sent us matching red sweatshirts from her home in California. Our family was now complete. Photo: Elizabeth (Stoutner) Laurence

So by the 1964 holiday season, our four-tiered family was complete. And from then on it was Mom and Dad, Molly, the boys and the girls — as my younger siblings entered their own elementary years and I headed to Junior High School.

Up next: T is for Trick or Treat. Please stop back! 

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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8 thoughts on “Sisters: What a surprise! #AtoZChallenge”

  1. Hi Molly:

    Love that you succeeded and achieved your goal–A to Z–yippee.
    I of course love this “Sisters” post!
    I was 8 years old and had three sisters when my mother–my second mother–gave birth to a baby boy…oh joy! Since I was a tomboy [as we used to say], we had great fun together. Snow forts and snowball fights and so many other pastimes…after he passed away I decided I had to go to speak about my book at his beloved alma mater–Notre Dame. I told the story about the day he was born, when my Dad hung red rubber boxing gloves up over his basinette and said: “He’s going to Notre Dame.” And he did. After my talk, a female professor came up to tell me that she had the same experience. Her family also had many girls, and then a boy–a much-prized son–and her dad’s allegiance to Notre Dame.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Great story, Jane! Having siblings — brothers and sisters — makes family life so much more fun. I am especially grateful for my siblings and our shared experiences now that our parents and grandparents our gone

  2. It’s funny how we cluster families. Our daughters are still “the girls”. To our surprise we have three grandsons…a learning experience. So they are of course “the boys” and our granddaughter gets the privilege of being categorised by her name. When the boys give her grief I’ve told she she’s the one who can trace her matrilineal line back…nothing like a grandmother who does genetic genealogy.

    1. It is funny. One of my brothers says, “It’s as if we had three families.” Oddly, my mother only had a sister and my dad only had brothers — so we must have been a learning experience for them, just as you describe with your family.

  3. I also got a sister when I was 11 1/2 !!
    My mom wanted lots of kids, but after my brother and I we had a sister that died, then Mom couldn’t have any more. They right away adopted my younger brother. After a while, tho I loved my brothers and we mostly got along, I said it wasn’t fair two against one and I wanted a sister. But by then it was much harder to adopt so it took a few years. I was so thrilled when we got the call that a 3 day old baby girl was waiting for us.
    So it worked out I babysat her, she babysat my kids, and my kids babysat her kids! Perfect!

    1. So you were around the same age as me when you got a sister. Having brothers and sisters rounds out the sibling experience — and it was fun growing up with a group of playmates in the house, especially in the winter when we spent less time outside.

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