Tuesday, October 5, 2010


My recent birthday celebration brought back more memories of my life as a little girl in Maine. As long as I can remember, I did not readily accept my position as both the baby, and the only girl, in the family of four children. I wanted a sister!

Since my parents didn’t seem to be doing anything about it by the time I was approaching school age, I decided to take matters into my own hands. As I stood by the back steps of house of my first-grade friend, I lied to her mother, “My mamma is going to have a baby.”

Standing quietly off to my right, with a smirk causing the dimple in his right cheek to deepen as I went on with my explanation, was my brother who was three-and-a-half-years older than I. “Of course Kent wants another brother, but Mamma and I want a baby girl.”

If I had to choose to make an announcement to the world, I certainly chose well. Not only was this woman the mother of my little friend, she also happened to be the village newscaster…except there was no radio station.

No matter your age, be sure your sins will find you out. It wasn’t very long before mine caught up with me.

My mother caught up with me, too. Is it enough to say she was not happy hearing the news through the grapevine about her expected baby…the one she was not expecting? And when she confronted me, do you think she really cared about my being unhappy that she wasn’t really expecting? Maybe if I had just kept quiet at that point, I wouldn’t have found out how swiftly her dainty hand could slather some Ivory soap across her open palm and the underside of her fingers. My eyes opened wider than my mouth as she then fast-swiped that bit of suds over my tongue, creating a taste I never wished to try again.

Many birthdays have come and gone since that long ago fall. In the meantime, one of my own children told a similar tale to his kindergarten teacher and class about an expected baby in our family.

I received a phone call. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Why didn’t I tell you what?” I asked.

“That you are expecting,” my friend who had grown to be as close as a sister replied.

“Because I’m not! Where did you hear that?” I asked, in disbelief!

“Steve said Chip told Mrs. SoSo you were sick and couldn’t fix his breakfast this morning because you were going to have a baby.”

I didn’t wash Chip’s mouth out with soap. He thought he already had enough punishment by being the middle child, the only boy, in a family with three kids. He just wanted a brother. What? Didn’t he know how blessed he was to already have not just one, but two sisters?

I never did get mine.

© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 10-4-2010

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