On Sunday, June 4, my baby brothers will be 67 years old.
I remember when they were born. We were expecting ONE baby. Evidently the doctor was not sure there were two babies. She could tell there were extra appendages, but because of their position in my mother’s womb, the doctor couldn’t hear two heartbeats.
Up-until-their birth, our family was perfect in my eyes. I was three years old. I had an eight-year-old sister, whom I adored, both parents, my maternal grandparents,lots of cousins and aunts and uncles. I really didn’t want the change of adding more children to our family! I remember peering into the bassinet and hearing my grandma exclaim, “Two BOYS! We are so lucky!”
Now grandma and I were very close. I knew she loved and valued me, but what I heard in those words was “Girls are not as good nor as desirable as boys. So up to now, they had their girl, my older sister and now they had TWO boys. We don’t need another girl. You are one child more than we need.”
None of this was true.
Coincidentally, just after their births, I had to have my tonsils removed. It was my first trip to a hospital. I thought the nurses were mean and they treated me like a baby. Imagine! I had to sleep in a crib. I had been sleeping in a regular bed with my sister for several months. Likely to free up a crib for my brother(s.) The prevailing “wisdom” was that mothers couldn’t have any contact with their children while they were in the hospital. So little did I know, my mommy had come to see me every day, for ten days, but had to peak in when I was asleep.
I was a child of great imagination. I knew that Mommy had gone to the hospital to get my brothers. I assumed my family didn’t need me anymore and they were taking me back. I was terrified and I was heart-broken. I didn’t even smile for the ice cream when my throat was recovering.
As children, my brothers were pests to me. I was trying to carve out a place of importance for myself and these two interlopers were budging in. We didn’t seem to have much in common. They even spoke a strange twin language. They called each other Dodi and Nonny. To make matters worse they seemed to be good in sports in which I often played drawback. So my jealousy and insecurity got in the way of really getting to know them.
When our mother made her transition last year, they both spoke at her service. I saw that they were kind, sensitive and loving. They did her proud. She was proud of all her children. Both brothers have children of their own, interestingly they had boys. And they are lucky! And so am I to be their auntie.
Happy birthday to my brothers Gerald Roy Neil Clark and John Douglas Lorne Clark.
|Adorable baby boys Johnny (Nonny) and Gerry (Dodi)|
|Lela Clark and her 5 children
Gerald, Heather, Kathryn, Cheryl, John