1960 ~ I remember it well, as though it were just 47 years ago.
I was 27-years-old and ripe as a plum with my third child. I hadn’t seen my toes since Christmas. We already had two children, two little boys, who would turn 4 and 2 in March, but my husband wanted a little girl and so I had agreed to try one last time. It was extremely cold and windy that day, even by Illinois standards. Everyone was complaining about the weather and kept telling me, “You’re probably going to have that baby tonight ~ the weather always brings babies early.” Did I listen? Of course not. Was I wrong? Absolutely!
When my water broke, a neighbor came and stayed with my two boys. The night air was frigid and the wind battered our jalopy of a car as we made our way to the hospital. There are two sets of railroad tracks between our home and the nearest hospital, both of which almost always have a train sitting on them, and I believe it was only the power of prayer that kept the roads clear until we got to the hospital.
Three records were set in our town that night. The wind had never blown so hard and it had never been that cold on that date. The other record was the birth of our little daughter. This was the first girl in my husband’s family for many many years! She topped the scales at just over five pounds and looked like a little doll.
AM’s brothers figured their lives were ruined the day we brought her home and likewise, she was always convinced that there was some mix up at the hospital – that those two hellions could not possibly be her brothers, and would we please return her to the rich family across town where she was certain she belonged. Alas, there had been no mix up and after 40-some years, I believe they have finally come to appreciate one another.
The first word most babies say is “Mama”. AM’s first words were, “Where’s my coat?” I didn’t know at the time how prophetic those words were. As soon as she could toddle, she was ready to leave home. Her favorite place to visit was her Godparent’s house, across the street. At two-years-old, she would pack her dolls and nightgown in a brown paper sack and go across the street where she was appreciated ~ and where there were no brothers to pester her. They loved her as if she were their own and the feeling was mutual. Then when she was 21, she packed what few things she had and moved to Texas – where she seldom needs a coat – and she has been there since.
It has been a joy to be her mother and it has been an even greater joy to see her be a mother. Except for the years between 1973 and 1978, I’d love to do it all over again.