Friday’s Child…

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I realize it is now Sunday, July 2nd but I was just musing about a child that was born on a beautiful, sunny morning.  It was July 1st several moons ago.  I was little, between toddler and pre-k, and my life was about to change monumentally!  The day before my Mother held me in her arms, gave me a HUGE hug (other than my Grandfather, she was the BEST hugger in the world!) and kiss and told me to behave myself for my Father and grandparents.  She said she would only be gone a week and when she returned, we would be a family of four!  With that, she handed me to my grandfather, entered the car and she and Dad drove away.  The next morning I woke up very early.  Dad was already awake and pacing around the house as far as the telephone cord would permit.  When he saw me, he ended the conversation and asked if I wanted breakfast.  I said yes and he replied he was going to make me something special – French Toast!  I had never had this before and, even though I was quite a picky eater, I was eager to try this new dish as I LOVED breakfast!  I watched my father prepare the toast – eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg mixed together.  He dunked the bread and placed it in melted butter on the griddle.  When it was brown on both sides, he put it on a plate with a pat of butter gently melting in the middle…nothing else!  It was delicious!  I asked for another slice and his face lit up!  As he was preparing my “order” the phone rang and he answered without saying hello.  “Uh huh…uh huh…uh huh.  You know what to do.  They’re both OK?  Thank You!  I’ll see you later!”  Click.  He hung up and turned to me with a BIG smile.  “You’re now a big sister!  Mommy and your baby sister are doing well!”  I put my fork down and asked when I could see them.  My Father responded that children are not allowed to visit people in the hospital but my Grandfather had an idea to sneak me in.  With that, we finished breakfast and he cleaned the plates and pan.  I played in the backyard for a little while until it was time to walk to my grandparents’ house.  My Father took my hand and we walked down the street to the brown and white house on the corner that my grandfather had built just before World War II started.  He left me with my Grandmother and I watched him walk back to our house, get into the car and drive away from the big picture window in the living room.  My Grandmother called me into the kitchen and on the table, in a huge yellow and white striped bowl, were potato chips!  “Have a little snack to tide you over,” my Grandmother said.  Tide me over?  I looked in the kitchen and down the hall to the bedroom but I didn’t see any water!  I didn’t understand and tried to ask my Grandmother but she was very distracted.  She drank cup after cup of coffee, smoked incessantly and played one game of Solitaire after another until my Aunt arrived.  Together they both drank cup after cup of coffee and smoked even more but my Grandmother responded more now that another adult was in the room.  I nibbled on potato chips and played on the porch until my Grandfather came home.  I ran into the kitchen and he was positively beaming!  “How are they?  Were there any complications?  How is the baby doing?  Is our daughter doing well?”  He was bombarded.  He picked me up and twirled me around shouting, “You’re now a BIG sister!  You’re going to meet your baby sister this afternoon!”  My Grandmother sat him down and gave him lunch.  In between bites, he answered all my Grandmother’s and Aunt’s questions.  “She looks just like Baby #1 but is slightly bigger.  If she had gone full-term, she would definitely have been MUCH larger!  She’s quiet for now but wait until her original due date.  Our daughter and son-in-law will not get any rest after that!”  I twirled the bowl of potato chips.  I so wish I had that bowl now – the memories of that day encapsulated in a serving dish!  My grandmother gave me some chicken and cucumbers but I was too excited to eat!  My Aunt was laughing every time my Grandmother attempted to sit me back down again.  “She’s eager to see her Mom and new sister!  Cut her some slack!”  My Grandfather finished his lunch, excused himself from the table (he always had impeccable manners) and headed off to wash up.  I followed him down the hallway and peaked into the bedroom that I slept in when I stayed over.  There was a crib in room that hadn’t been there yesterday.  “Why is there a crib in my room?”  My Grandmother responded that the baby and I would be sharing the room whenever we visited.  My Aunt started to giggle and said, “I see there is trouble on the horizon!”  I heard the hall closet open and close and my Grandfather reappeared with his winter coat in his hands.  “You’re going to sneak the baby into the hospital under THAT during the SUMMER?!?” both women shouted.  He nodded yes, gave each a peck on the cheek, took my hand and we walked out to his car.  I may now be the BIG SISTER but I still had to ride in the backseat!  When we arrived at the hospital, my Grandfather laid down the ground rules for the visit, “You stay with me at all times.  Do NOT run to your Mother or try to have her pick you up!  She just had a baby and her incision is healing.  You can hug her but GENTLY!”  With that, we exited the car, he put on his winter coat and buttoned me inside!   My Grandfather was a General Practitioner who had privileges at this hospital.  His second grandchild had been born that morning via Caesarian Section and he was in the room when his new granddaughter made her debut.  We passed what was considered Security for that time and he received quite a few chuckles.  “Doc, I don’t know if feet that tiny will help your balance!”  When we reached the Maternity Ward, my Grandfather unbuttoned the coat a little and told me to peek out.  “Do you see the pink door?”  I nodded.  “Push that door open.”  I did as he instructed me.  When the door opened, standing there in a pink bathrobe and slippers with a pink bow in her hair was my Mother!  My father was with her and they were GLOWING for lack of a better word!  I could tell my Mother as slightly annoyed at SOMETHING by the look in her eyes but I didn’t know what.  My Grandfather removed his coat.  I looked up to him and he nodded.  I walked SO SLOWLY to my Mother and wrapped my arms around her leg.  “Why aren’t you giving me one of your usual hugs?” my Mother asked.  I told her I didn’t want to hurt her.  “Sheynes Kind, you could NEVER hurt me!  Would you like to meet your baby sister?” I jumped up and down.  My parents each took my hand and walked me down the hall.  She looked at my Father and whispered to my Grandfather, “We will talk later!  You two have some explaining to do!”  I looked at everyone but didn’t understand “Adult Talk.”  As it turned out, my Grandfather and Father had changed my sister’s name but didn’t inform my Mother or me!  I only had one thing on my mind – my sister!  We stopped at a window and my Father picked me up.  A nurse on the other side of the window put her hand up to her mouth, let out a little gasp and immediately wheeled a bassinet to the front of the window.  “I knew this one was yours!  She looks identical to her sister!”  I stared.  She was sleeping.  I tried to knock on the window but my Grandfather stayed my hand.  “No, you’ll wake the other babies.”  There was only ONE baby I was interested in and she was sleeping in front of me!  To this day I don’t know if I willed it or if it was coincidence but she opened her eyes and appeared to look right into mine!  Her eyes were SAPPHIRE!  I had never seen anything so blue!  I raised my hand and waved to her through the window.  At the same time, she raised her little walnut of a hand and appeared to wave back.  She then yawned and fell back to sleep.  Was it love at first sight?  No, it was sibling rivalry pure and simple.  Our relationship totally changed when I went off to college.  She is the best gift my parents ever gave me!  I will never be able to express the love and respect I have for her!  She is my greatest sparring partner and chief supporter!  I was never meant to be an only child!  Mom, if you’re looking down from above…THANK YOU!

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