Friday, November 29, 2013
My brother was very young when his daughter was born. Within a scarce few months his wife found out they were having another baby. I scolded my brother. His wife's body had not had time to recover from the birth of my niece. I ranted and raved and told him he should know better. Several months later they had a beauftiful son.
You know how nature has a way of putting us in our places and humbling us? I gave my brother such a hard time. Well, I was barely out of the hospital after having my third son and I was pregnant again.
Before my third baby was even born I had decided that I was not having more children. Three was quite enough. Then that was a difficult pregnancy. I did not want to put my children through that again.
I wanted surgery to prevent me from being able to have more children. My husband had to give permission due to archaic laws at the time. He would not agree to it so I used other methods almost 100% guaranteed to make sure there were no more babies.
Then came the day I woke up thinking,"Wouldn't it be nice to have another baby?"
While our someday baby was a surprise, our fourth baby was a shock. Things would be very difficult. My husband was on the road all the time leaving me with three boys and they were a handful. So shock or not we were expanding our family.
If you have read about the birth of my first three babies you will know that once my babies decided to be born they did not fool around. They were born quickly. My husband was usually only home on the weekends and I knew practically nobody. The nearest hospital was 30 miles away and I would probably have to drive myself. Who would take care of my boys? We decided that I would take the boys and go stay with my parents again.
My husband was hoping we would have a little girl. I decided that it would be a boy because I already had boys. I had clothes for a boy. My older two boys were extremely close and I thought it would be nice if the younger two could be that close.
Once again I pushed for a tubal ligation so that I would not have more babies. My husband balked at the idea. What if it was not his girl that he wanted. I told him that if he thought I was going to keep having babies until he got a girl, he was crazy.
I had a much easier time of things this time. I actually enjoyed my pregnancies for the most part. There is something that changes the way you view the world. It is probably hormonal.
Finally came the day that the contractions started. My mother once again took me to the hospital. The doctor examined me. I was no longer feeling any contractions. He determined that it was a false labor. I would not have my baby for about 10 days.
While I was left to get dressed to go home, the doctor went to tell my mother. She looked at him and said, "Oh no you don't. I know how she does this. I'll get her halfway home and she'll have that baby in the car."
The doctor told her she could have me walk the halls to see if exercise would make something happen. After about two hours Mom finally took my home.
My daughter was born ten days later. She was beautiful. She had little black ringlets of hair all over her head. But she was the color of a beet. Even after her skin became a normal color I could not dress her in red and little girls always look so nice in red. When she was much older I could have a red dress or blouse as long as there would be a huge white collar between her and the red.
Once again my husband was on the road when our daughter was born. We had finally agreed that he would authorize the surgery for me to not have more babies. But he was on the road when the morning of the surgery came. The nurse did not know what to do.
She asked if I was absolutely sure that my husband would sign the authorization papers. I assured her that he would. She decided that I could sign them for now and he could give official authorization as soon as he could get there.
Of course by the time my husband arrived the surgery was over and done. There was no need for his "permission" as policy required. I was the first married woman in my state to authorize her own surgery.
All three of my boys were enchanted by having a sister. As a matter of fact they have always spoiled her as much as possible. Even after all these years. But she knows it and appreciates it. She would do anything for her brothers.
My husband was in heaven. He finally had his little girl. She could do no wrong. Her place to be was on his lap. He would sing to her and show her the feelings that he felt he should not share with his sons.
Right away I noticed that a girl baby is different from a boy baby. She actually had legs like a girl! I just assumed that happened as girls grew up.
My daughter was the best baby I have ever seen. When she would wake up she would make enough noise to let me know that she was awake, then wait patiently for me to be able to get to her. Because I already had one baby my lap was often full. My daughter just fit where ever there was room.
There were only two problems. Projectile vomiting was one. She did not spit up like most babies. She spit out and all over the place. She was such a delicate little lady.
You may want skip this paragraph because it is disgusting. When my beautiful baby girl would fill her diaper it always went up her back and out her sleeve. Do not ask me how that happened. I have no idea. And her brothers said it smelled like Kentucky Fried chicken. We do not eat there.
One time the kids and I were to meet my husband in the city where my parents lived. So we packed and set off. I knew that traveling with four small children would be a trial so I planned to stop at the end of the day and spend the night at a motel.
My daughter could not wait (as most babies just answer the call of nature when the call comes in) and of course out her sleeve it went. Her oldest brother was holding her and was immediately repulsed. I had to pull over and change her diaper and her clothes. None of the boys wanted to hold her . It was a you do it... no, you do it kind of thing.
My daughter has blonde hair and fair skin. She looks so pretty in white. So of course any time I saw a white outfit or a white coat I had to get it for her.
White is impractical for a little girl with three big brothers. She was very feminine but she can hold her own with the boys. So it was a regular thing that she would come in with her pretty white clothes covered with dirt, grease, grass stains, blood, or whatever.
Her father called her his "Darlin" and announced that she could do no wrong. I chuckled because I knew her. We were riding one day and he had to go into the store for something. Our daughter was seated between us.He had left his pack of cigarettes on the seat.
I looked over and she had taken the cigarettes out and shredded them. I laughed. When her father came out he saw what she had done, I smiled sweetly and said, "She can't do anything wrong because she's your Darlin." Without missing a beat he looked at me and replied, "That's right."
Another thing I discovered is that girls are more expensive than boys. Their clothes cost more and they need a slightly larger wardrobe so the expense is considerable. And her activities usually cost more.
The boys played little league baseball. The cost was for a glove. Uniform shirts, bats, ball, coaches, and everything else was provided.
My daughter had less than no interest in sports. I knew that she needed something to occupy her time so I enrolled her in a dance class.
In cities it seems as if nationalities and ethnic groups tend to cluster together. Our city was no different. The neighborhood we lived in had mostly Polish people. Even though we have no Polish ancestors we tried to fit in. So a Polish dance class was where I took my daughter.
It was inexpensive to join the class. All you had to do was purchase the life insurance that would make you a member. It was very reasonable so we became card-carrying Poles.
Each week she would go to learn the traditional dances of Poland and I would attend the mothers' meetings. That was when I discovered the real expense.
At the end of the year there would be a recital. Traditional Polish costume was required for the dancers. Often another mother would have a costume that no longer fit her daughter so they could be purchased at a reasonable price. And they were good for as long as your daughter stayed the same size.
The headpieces were another matter. They were made by a local flower shop of fresh flowers and ribbons. They were beautiful but expensive. A new one each year.
And of course there were other dances. Besides the dance slippers they needed for most dances, there would occasionally be specialty dances. One year it was a tap dance routine that required tap shoes. And a different costume was needed for those dances. They had to be bought at dance stores or if we were lucky we could find a seamstress to make them. Either way it was expensive. The children always looked beautiful and performed in a way to make their mothers proud.
After the proceeds from the recital were used to cover expenses like the rental of the hall the money was used for the children and their mothers to take a trip.
One year we traveled to the World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. My best friend's daughter danced so she was there. My friend also had to take her baby daughter. That little girl made my daughter's projectile vomiting look like a hiccup. And she very often chose me as her target. On the plane to Knoxville I believe she managed to hit every spot on the plane.
We had a wonderful time. On the way home my daughter did not feel well. Poor thing was sick for several days afterward.
When her father left home for good, my daughter was devastated. Her place to sit had been on her father's lap. He doted on her. And suddenly he not only did not live at home but he did not make himself available to the children. She cried often and long. I did what I could but she wanted her father.
Her father's brother came to the rescue. I did not particularly like this brother. But he stepped in and was there for all my children, especially my daughter. I may not always like him but I have developed a strong respect for him.
My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have a daughter the same age as my daughter. Across the street from them lived another girl their age. She lived with her grandparents. The three of them were constant companions. One of their favorite activities was roller skating.
My daughter had her own room and furniture in their home. At Christmas they gave her everything they gave to their daughter even knowing that I had gifts for her. It made her feel wanted again.
I have often said that the love my daughter and her uncle felt for each other was a beautiful thing to see. She adored him. And he loved her.
He had to love his wife and children. But he did not have to love nieces and nephews. Most of them he merely tolerated. He was very good to my sons and even to me but he loved my daughter. He did not have to but he loved her.
Having three older brothers allowed my daughter to become a sassy little thing. When she thought I was not listening she had a mouth like a truck driver. She knew that no matter what happened her brothers were right there to take care of her.
There was a little boy her age who lived around the corner from us. He liked to tease my daughter. One day after school I heard her burst into the house and exclaim, "Sammy's picking on me." They rode the same school bus.
The door slammed as all the boys took off (behind my daughter I might add) and down the street after Sammy. Sammy was not very big for his age and I have nice big healthy boys.
I was upstairs and ran to look out the window to see what was going on. There was my darling daughter running down the street after Sammy, yelling and waving that famous family finger all the way. Her brothers were hot on her heels. Poor Sammy was running for his life. He made it inside his front door just before they caught him and he was safe.
When they returned I had my daughter tell me what had happened. Sammy had been picking on her on the school bus. She did nothing on the bus. She waited until their stop. As soon as the bus pulled away she beat the tar out of Sammy. Then she came in and incited a riot with her brothers.
My daughter is quiet in situations where there are large amounts of people. One teacher told me she would never raise her hand in class to offer an answer to a question. However he knew that she always knew the answer. Sometimes if he could not get the correct answer from anyone else he would call on her and she always knew.
She was in all of the little programs they have at school. It is a time for the teachers to show parents things that they could be proud of. Often it involved the group standing together and singing. My daughter did not just move her mouth and pretend to sing. She did not move her mouth at all. She would just stand there looking bored occasionally raising her eyes to the ceiling the way children do.
Just as her brothers had done, she was accepted into the accelerated middle school. One of her teachers was from another country. Sometimes his upbringing would clash with the American way of life. For instance he decided that my daughter's blouse was too revealing. It not only was not, but if it had been I would not have allowed her to wear it. I do believe in a bit of modesty. He was not happy that a female parent had the temerity to disagree with him.
This teacher ran a strict classroom. I applaud that. I think he may have been too rigid but no one was hurt. One rule was that no child should speak out in class unless spoken to first. It is not a bad rule.
One day he was asking questions of the children. He would say the name of the child and that child was to answer all questions until he called on the next child. He asked my daughter a question. She answered. He asked another question and she answered again.
He exploded and said she was being insolent because he was not asking the question of her. He assigned her to write a paper about something or other. When she came home she was angry. She had tried to explain to him that he had not directed the question to another student but he was having none of it.
I called the principal and made an appointment to visit him and the teacher the next day. In the meantime I wrote a very nice note to the teacher. I explained that my daughter did not think she did anything wrong. I explained that he should be pleased that she was strong enough to stand up for her principles. I said that I understood what her punishment was supposed to be but that I would not allow her to write the paper until I spoke to him
We had a meeting. I gave my side of the story first because I had asked for the meeting. Then the teacher spoke. He had been sure he was right so he asked the other students in the class if they heard him request the answer from another student. They all said they had not. Perhaps, just perhaps, he had been hasty in assigning punishment. She would not have to write the paper.
I thanked him. Then as soon as he left I had the principal assign my daughter to another class.
My daughter has grown into a beautiful, competent young woman. She inherited intelligence and wisdom from her grandmothers.
She was working for a company owned by the same family who own the local Major League Baseball team. The company held ceremonies to award bonuses and promotions in a major theater in the city. The Christmas parties included all the sports members as well as the people who worked for the business.
My daughter had been promoted to manager of her store. She has an unusual name and people seem to like to mispronounce it. When the owner of the company called her name to come forward he mispronounced it. Other people from the company who knew her were quietly giggling and making bets on whether she would correct him when she was on the stage.
She leaned near him and told him the correct way to say her name. He blushed a bit and actually corrected himself on the microphone.
When my daughter was walking back to her seat the owner's wife stopped her and told her it was good to put the boss in his place once in a while.
My daughter has a son who will graduate from high school this year. Her daughter is two years younger. My daughter has been with their father for about twenty years.
Now you have met all my children. There will be more tales of them later. I just wanted to introduce them so you could see how special they are.