A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And then there was five...

When my mom had me she wasn’t married to my dad. For all accounts it was just me and her (and a gaggle of aunts who seemingly fought over me). It was a very real possibility that I might end up being an only child. However that was not to be.

When I was two and a half, mom married dad and a few months later came the arrival of my sister Tawny. I think she was a prettier baby than me, with dark curly hair and big brown eyes. Mom said I wasn’t a jealous big sister and I was happy to share with her although there were apparently times when I did give her the odd pinch (sorry!); more often than not I was pleased about the baby, so much so that once mom found me trying to stuff her into my doll’s crib – my own baby. Tawny was creative and agreeable, often following me from place to place – once following me out of the apartment at 7 am on a Saturday morning in our night dresses; another time she packed her bags with me to run God knows where when we were visiting our Nan one summer when I was eight and she was six; Thank goodness she wizened up to following me around – I was going nowhere fast evidently!

A few years later came another sister during my parent’s quest to have a son. Because Sandra has never conformed, it was only logical that she was not a boy. She had red hair and a fiery personality to match. Unlike Tawny and I, she wasn’t so agreeable and certainly marched to her own drummer, strong and independent. She was quick to say I hate you, but even quicker to say I love you.  Sandra definitely threw some variety into the mix. When there is a crisis, she's always there.

Finally, when I was nine, mom successfully gave my father his namesake. Turns out though, that John with his big liquid brown eyes and disgustingly beautiful long lashes shares only his name with dad; From all that mom has told us, I believe he is much more in nature like our maternal grand-father than our own. John is obviously a man that grew up surrounded by females: he is quiet, gentle, respectful and knows when to dissapear. If he ever marries he will have one lucky wife.

That was supposed to be it.

Although we had moved from an apartment to a house after dad left the navy, I was still sharing a room with my two sisters when at the age of 11, mom made the proclamation that there would be one more. I freaked out. I knew it would be a girl and that there would be four of us crammed into one little room.

But I was wrong (and right):

Mom and Dad built Tawny and I a room of our own downstairs and the following May came our very last sister. My parents had promised I could name the dark-haired baby with the pretty birth mark on her cheek and I chose Stacy (she is so not a Jennifer or Susan – what my father wanted). Because I was 12 and by then very used to babies, having had lots of practice with John and my cousins, mom let me have almost free reign with Stacy. She kind of became my own baby and rather than put her into a doll’s carriage, mom let me take her for long walks in her pram. I used to love taking our sweet natured little sister, with the softest voice you can imagine out for walks and to my school to show her off. By the time she was a toddler Tawny and I were spoiling her at every chance we could. She was our baby – she still is in so many ways although now a beautiful, confident young woman.

We are now all grown and settling into our adult lives. Most of us remain close, friends even, although a few of us are very far apart in geographical terms. We’ve had the usual family fall-outs but we always manage to pull together; Never more so than these last few months of mom’s illness.

I was watching Sense and Sensibility the other night (one of my favourite Austin adaptations) and it got me thinking about the relationships between siblings, sisters especially. How fortunate are we to have this incredible bond that will last us a lifetime no matter what is thrown at us?  I adore our amazing and flawed tribe and I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like without them. Sure we have had our differences and I’m certain there are a few more brewing on the horizon, but we always recover and come back to what’s important – the friendships, the laughter, the love.

Stacy, Sandra, John, Me and Tawny (with our Clara on board)


Laraf123 said...

What a fun family! I envy you all those siblings (even if you did have to share a room!)

Anonymous said...

I love this post! You definitely stand out with that blond hair. Lovely. :) I absolutely love my little sister and we had a very similar relationship to you and Tawny. Now she's my best friend. Thanks for helping me stop and think about how lucky I am to have her. :)

dawn mclaughlin said...

:) Great blog!!!!!

Fern Wimpley said...

I loved this, and I love YOU!
It took my awhile, but I also love my name and I also love how I got my name.
That being said, I'm not a Jennifer, a Jenny, or a Jenn. I'm definitely not a Susan, but a Susie would have suited ;)
Either way, I love Stacy, despite all the movie Stacy's who are ditzy, blonde, and killed off in the first 10 minutes :)

Anonymous said...

This is very well written Jody - makes me want to have more children so that hopefully one day my kids can talk so highly about their siblings!!!!!

Renu said...

Lovely post Jody :-)

kristin said...

Very touching and well written!

Valentina said...

Wonderful post, Jody!