Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Happy Birthday K & K!

Today my brother and sister turn 38 years old.

Thirty-eight years and seven weeks ago, I was nearly 5 1/2 years old and an only child. My mom was expecting a new baby and I was in kindergarten. Just about two years before, Mom had miscarried a baby. All I remember was seeing her sad face through the hospital window and knowing that my baby brother or baby sister had gone to heaven. As soon as I found out she was pregnant again, I would pray each night that God send me either a baby brother or a baby sister or both. (The lesson here is be careful of what you pray for! :-D )

Now my mom was VERY pregnant, HUGELY pregnant but the doctor had only been hearing one heartbeat. There was worry that the baby may be a Down's Syndrome baby as she was so very large. Mom went into early labor and the doctors put her in the hospital. This was 1967 in the days before ultra-sound machines and before they could save babies that were nine or ten weeks early. All the doctors could do was x-ray Mom to try to figure out what was going on. Much to all our surprise, there were two babies in there. It seems my sister had been hanging out vertically under one set of Mom's ribs so they'd not been able to hear her heartbeat.

As I spent the seven weeks at my grandmother's house being spoiled rotten, Mom spent the time flat on her back in the hospital. These were also the days when children under the age of 12 weren't allowed in hospitals to visit. Dad would bring me to Mom's window so I could see her and say "hi". But on Sundays when the doctors weren't about, the nurses would open the back door and sneak me in so I could hug Mom and visit for a bit.

Finally on June 30th, Mom went into labor again and the doctors let her deliver. Dads weren't allowed in the delivery rooms then so Dad had to sit out and wait. My brother was born first and Dad heard him cry. Next came my sister and the little sneak cried twice. The nurses said that Dad nearly passed out because he thought it was triplets. [vbg]

I remember them both being so very tiny. My sister had the longest, skinniest legs I'd ever seen on a baby. I was one proud big sister. Twins were a phenomenon back then and friends and family came from all over to see our twins. I was old enough to be able to help a bit with the babies and I loved it.

There are so very many moments in the past 38 years that I remember and treasure.

Some of The Funny Moments:

* When (around age one) my brother stole the barrette out of my sister's hair and Mom and the maid both thought he'd swallowed it but it was just under his tongue.
* The cold day they went outside to play and my brother had on the jacket my sister wanted to wear. Mom and Dad, my grandparents, and I sat and watched out the window as my sister conned my brother into switching jackets with her within about five minutes after a free wagon ride around the yard).
* My brother breaking his arm on Easter Sunday while playing with one of my cousins and all the complications that followed. Ok, not funny but that fall was the reason we got our first dog Crunch. :-)
* The night my brother and I convinced our sister that because her bruise on her hip was green that she had gangrene and they'd have to cut off her leg so she cried and tried to get rid of the bruise by wiping 409 on it.
* Playing a nice quiet game of Barbies with my sister and having my brother burst into the room screaming "Tornado" and diving into the middle of everything and slinging Barbie stuff everywhere.
* Belly-crawling down the hall after we were put to bed and sneaking up to my brother's bed, grabbing him, and scaring the Bejeebers out of him.
* Watching Saturday afternoon horror movies like "Creature From The Black Lagoon" with my brother, who would run and hide during the scary parts. Of course, I'd tell him they were over before they truly were and he'd come out, scream, and hide behind the chair again.
* My sister calling Dad to tell on my brother who had decided to disect then try to revive a frog by using the frayed ends of an extension cord, thus blowing every breaker in the house.

And Some of the Poignant Moments:

* Watching them both graduate from high school with full tuition scholarships.
* Standing shoulder to shoulder with them at our grandmother's funeral.
* The night my brother came to tell me he was gay and the night two weeks later I was with him when he told our sister.
* My sister's wedding to a guy who has made a wonderful husband and father.
* Having my sister as my matron of honor and having my brother sing "Follow Me" at my wedding.
* When my sister, having just given birth to my niece El, knowing that neither our brother nor I would ever have children of our own, reached out for both our hands and said through tears, "I had her for all of us."
* Circling the wagons when my nephew Ty was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago.
* Being there for and with each other, each assuming his/her own role, when we nearly lost Mom last November.

The three of us have always been close. Sure we fought like normal siblings growing up but we've always been right there for each other. I have watched both of them graduate from college, something I always regret not doing. They have grown into amazing adults. I have watched my brother become an excellent journalist and have his work nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has found a wonderful partner and they have made a fine home together. I have watched my sister become a mother to two of the best kids on the planet. She is a fantastic mother, a better one than I'm sure I'd have made. She has walked a very long road with Ty's illness but she has never lost faith or hope. In fact, she has come out of her somewhat shy shell to become an advocate for children's healthcare here in Louisiana.

There has not been a moment that I haven't been proud to be their sister.

I love you both, K and K. And on this birthday I wish you peace and joy and happiness.

From your big sister M.


  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger Dixie said…

    I wish them both a happy birthday as well. I know their having you for a big sister has made them better people!

  • At 5:17 AM, Anonymous Stephanie said…

    Happy Birthday K & K!!!

  • At 7:17 AM, Blogger Keith said…

    Thanks sis! I couldn't wish for a better older sister. We're all fortunate to have each other.
    And thanks Dixie and Stephanie for the birthday wishes.
    After a busy day at work, I had a great evening. Went to diner in the French Quarter. Then took a local jazz band at a music club. And ended the night smoking a hooka at a music cafe with Constantine and two friends.
    40 here I come! :)

  • At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Kay said…

    What beautiful sentiment. You're so lucky to have such strong relationships with your wonderful siblings.
    Happy Birthday K & K!!


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