My sisters, cousin and I always celebrated the birth of each others’ children – with long distance phone calls. We lived in three different states: Arizona, New York and Indiana, separated by miles of concrete and asphalt and the financial pinch of the budgets to tight to allow much traveling. However, miles and months of separation did not deter our interest in the birth of each boy.
And I deliberately do not add “and girl”. We all had boys.
I had a boy, my Arizona sister had a boy, I had another boy, Arizona sis had a boy; my cousin had a boy, I had a boy, New York sis had a boy.
My mother read an article citing some scientific study explaining physical reasons for conceiving one gender over another. We sighed and realized we all were obviously physically inclined to have boys. What other explanation was there other than the luck of genetics?
My Arizona sister announced another pregnancy. Though it was the era before ultra-sound revealed a child’s gender before birth, we all knew she would have a boy, but we hoped she would have a girl. We waited for the phone call announcing the most recent addition to the family – and his name.
So my New York sister was excited, but not surprised to have me call her early in April to tell her that our Arizona sister had given birth.
“But she had a surprise for her and the doctor,” I said, “This time she had twins.”
“Twins! Oh that is so exciting.” Having had identical twin fathers, my sisters, cousin and I relished the idea of having our set of twins.
“Yep, she had a girl and a boy.”
“That is so great!” sis enthused, “Twins! and she is the first of us to have a girl.”
“Do you want to know their names?”
“Why, of course!”
“Well they named the girl, April Mae,” I began.
“That is a pretty name,” New York sis gushed, “ I really like that. It is so spring like.”
“And the boy they called “Tom Fool.”
There was a startled, dead silence on the other end of the phone, a groan and her voice went flat, “Right. April May and Tom Fool, This is the first of April isn’t it?”
I let out the hysterical laughter I had been suppressing through the entire phone call laugh. “Yes, it is.”
Considering the fact that neither of us finds practical jokes very funny, she took it fairly well. She even called to chat after our Arizona sister had her third son.
Then my New York sister had another son, my cousin had a son and I had a daughter. Everyone celebrated the change of pace she brought into our lives 21 years ago.
Three years after my daughter was born, our Arizona sister had her last child. Whether she secretly hoped to follow me with a daughter of her own, I do not know. I only know she had a boy. Her husband was holding him at one of their older sons’ Little League games. The man next to them looked at the other two sons sitting beside their dad and asked what the baby was.
“It’s a boy, too.”
The man glanced at his bevy of daughters and sighed, “some guys have all the luck.”
Luck? I guess it depends on where you sit on the bench in the game of life. With nine granddaughters and one grandson, I still celebrate and welcome the birth of each child. As it says in Psalms 127:3 and 5a “Children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is His reward. … Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them.”