And Then There Were Two
My second brother, Andrew was born nearly two years after Jonathan.
Today, I’d say my favorite part about Andy is that he’s daddy to a special little 2-year old girl and a precious 3-week old baby girl. And of course, husband to a wonderful lady.
Another thing I love about him is that he knows everything there is to know about air conditioners. This came in very handy about a month ago when I was in the market for one.
But that is today.
Andy is a typical “middle child.” I could go into a lot of family dynamics about how this works, but I’ll spare you. It’s true that middle children seek outside relationships more than oldest or youngest children because they’re constantly in the shadow of the doted-on oldest and the doted-on baby of the family. This was true of Andy. He has always been the social butterfly of the family.
In a lot of ways, Andy is an initiator. He was the first one to get a paper route. The first one to get a real job. The first one to pursue a romantic relationship (not a courtship!). The first one to permanently leave home. The first one to graduate from college. The first one to get married. The first one to have a baby.
My brother has a lot going for him.
But it came with a price.
He had to choose to live his life rather than the life that was chosen for him. That takes a great deal of strength; a great deal of conviction; a great deal of courage. Making that choice was tough. But once he made the choice, he never wavered.
And Then There Was Me
I like to imagine that the afternoon of my nativity would have been a sunny and warm one. I also like to imagine that someone sent my mom some daffodils. Because when a mum gives birth the day after Mother’s Day, she deserves some daffodils. At the very least!
I was born somewhere between 3:32 pm and 3:34 pm. I don’t remember the exact time (I’m sure it’s written down somewhere), so I like to say that I was born at 3:33 because that’s just cool.
I also like to tell people that I’m Russian, because that’s cool too. But I’m not really Russian. My ancestors lived in Russia, but they were German.
At any rate, on that (supposedly) warm, sunny day-after-Mother’s Day afternoon, I made my appearance.
I was promptly wrapped in a orangy-pink receiving blanket and had my first mugshot. I had a teeny bit of reddish fuzz on my head and the cutest little pudgy round cheeks you ever saw. And my little fingers looked just like they do now, except that they were so tiny and cute back then!!
I was a tiny little thing. I made my debut a week or so late (that was the only time I’ve ever been late in my life, I think!), and I weighed in at 6 pounds, 3 ounces. My tendency toward tininess continued when I took my first steps at 10 months and my parents had to go shopping for a tiny pair of shoes to protect my little feet. They found a pair of cute little navy sneakers with rainbows on the sides. I still have those little shoes.
I don’t remember much from this part of my life. From looking at old photos, I can say that I had two adoring, attentive big brothers, and I learned at an early age that if you scream, you’re more likely to get what you want. And I also learned at a young age that dirt is pretty tasty (I have pictures of this!) and that I was an observer of the 3-month rule. I once found a cookie under the fridge and decided to chow down. (Again, I have a picture of this!) I adored my Gramps and Grandma, but my dad’s parents totally freaked me out. (Just observations from photos. I have several of me being playful, peaceful and serene with Mom’s family, and on the next page, Dad’s parents are holding me and I’m screaming my head off. I wish I could have given them the benefit of the doubt, but I guess when you’re a baby, you don’t really understand those things.)
My first birthday was awesome. Not that I remember it — once again, I’m going on the photos. I had this wonderful, huge layered birthday cake with gooey frosting. It was set on the tray of my highchair and I reached out a timid fist to check it out. I guess I must not have been too fond of the sticky gooeyness, because fist promptly found its way to mouth. And then it was all over…. I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. And to this day, I still love frosting!!!
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Mari is the middle of 5 kids — and the only girl — in a male-dominent, semi-quiverfull, rather patriarchal homeschooling family. She was raised in a patriarchal church and most of her social network as a child consisted of children of patriarchal or quiverfull families. This is the story of how she was sucked into the patriarchal/quiverfull belief system, and how she was lovingly (and in some cases, not so lovingly!) escorted out. Read her blog at: http://www.marismuses.wordpress.com
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce