Stork Equals Sister

Forty years ago tonight my frantic father said “Here – put this on!” handing me my fabulous orange jumper with the big white daisies my grandmother Winnie had sewn for me. “What? Why daddy?” I said rubbing my sleepy eyes. “The baby is coming!” I remember the panicked look in my father’s eyes and I had that jumper on in a second flat. I have no memory of my mother’s pregnancy prior to that night – it was 1970 after all and such things were not discussed. I do remember sliding around the back seat of the station wagon with big brother – 8 and little brother – 4. Mother was moaning in pain up front and when little brother asked “are we there yet?” on the brief ride to the hospital daddy shot him a look so lethal it rendered all of us mute and we held hands the rest of way – exchanging increasingly concerned looks with mother’s multiplying moans. As a chubby nurse sped mother down the harshly lit hallway in a wheelchair, I remember thinking Pete! Link! Julie! wishing one of my brothers was black and that I had blond hair like the girl in the Mod Squad. When mother’s baby doctor, Dr. Chaffy (I actually never heard the word gynecologist until years later when I snuck into an R rated movie with my friend Jenny and she told me what it meant.) Dr. Chaffy gasped when he met us outside the elevator on the maternity ward. “What are these children doing here?” Again, I remember the helpless, yet relieved look on daddy’s face when Dr. Chaffy wheeled mother away and told us all to go home. The next morning we woke up to daddy telling us we had a baby sister. We ate dinner the next four nights at the local bar neglecting the freezer full of casseroles mother had prepared for us to eat in her absence. Perhaps that’s where my penchant for bar food comes from. When baby sister and mother finally came home brothers and I were fascinated by this little bundle in the bassinet with the funny brown belly button that eventually fell off. Now baby sister is all grown up up with a baby girl of her own. Mother always says tempus fugit – today I am particularly reminded of that. It’s funny what you remember, but I’m glad that I do. Happy birthday little sister. XO

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