My parents were busy bees in way back in the late 50's & 60's because they were chasing around 6 children. As I've said before, I was the youngest of the brood; 3 boys & 3 girls. We were all about a year apart, born between November 1956 & December 1962.
I cannot imagine what it was like for my mother to have all of those cloth diapers to change and wash. I say my mother because I'm pretty sure that my dad didn't help too much with the children, other than discipline & a little playtime. I will give him credit for being a good provider, though, because I do not recall ever wanting for much.
Anyways, as I was growing up I remember feeling like I could lean on my oldest sister for anything. She was always so mature... so ready willing & able to face anything head on. I came to rely on her instead of my mother in some ways, probably because Mom seemed so harried with managing the mounds of laundry, the endless chores & everything else mothers do.
The fun I had was with my youngest brother, who was a couple years older than me. We were usually sent outside to fend for ourselves for the day so we'd head to the backwoods for some wild adventures. I was afraid to go far from the house, but when we were together he somehow managed to venture off in the deep, always finding something new to explore around every bend, with me trailing just a feet feet behind.
Many of the memories of my childhood stem from being with my "twin", though. My sister, Lauren, was only 15 months older than me yet, for the longest time, Mom dressed us alike. We'd wear the same sundresses, the same sandals, the same everything... just different colors. She was a beautiful little chocolate haired cherub of a girl with bright blue eyes and I was the towheaded pixie.
We were always close and today we only live about 30 minutes from each other. Nevertheless we have busy lives that rarely bring us together. My other sister & I don't talk much, and our relationship grew cool over the years. My brothers all live in different states and none keeps in touch.
I admit that I hate the holidays. I see families all around me giddy with the excitement of being together, reminiscing about the good times and the antics of growing up with a big family. This, unfortunately, is something I've never experienced. So when I hear my boys bickering and wishing they were an only child, my heart aches.
As another Mother's Day passes, I realize how sapless most holidays are in our house. So it is my hope that, going forward, we invest more time to celebrate, not just the occasion, but the love & camaraderie of a real family.