Yes, we kids grew up on Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. It's was mostly a 1960s thing. Especially, if you were a blue collar, lower income to middle class kid. Lucky enough to live on a land with grass and trees. Your parents may have even had a 'Victory Garden' as my parents did.
As our childhood years passed, my mother was seeing her motherhood wither away. She wanted more children. Like it was her job. Her purpose. However, she truly enjoyed working too. It was and wasn't always about the money. Although, we sorely needed any extra we could get. Preteen I was barely bothered by that truth. The lack of funds that is.
Even so, my Mom truly wanted at least another child. She spoke about it often privately with me.
Then suddenly, after we had just moved into my parent's first owned home before my eleventh birthday, Mom was pregnant. She told me privately first. I was curious. But said nothing, hoping for a younger brother to share my love of football with. Show him the ropes. Teach him how to defend himself. Because like my older brother and I , he may be a small person too. I was psyched.
Then my hopes were dashed. Mom miscarried. She lamented, "Well, your dad didn't really know." So, I kept quiet. Yet I figured it was a good sign of their marriage. She soon got pregnant again within a year. This time I was cautious.
One Saturday late morning, my mother was in our bathroom. She told me how sick she was. I remember well, because my Girl Scout friend, Mary wondered why my mother remained in bed on a sunny November day. I replied, "She's real sick. But she'll be okay." What I knew also was Mom was depressed. And it wasn't completely out of having another miscarriage.. it was within her. It was something I'd seen before and throughout my childhood. Stuff no one spoke about. Things you weren't supposed to acknowledge. But I knew why. And I knew how. But I also knew her having another child, could be tough on her body. But it also could be a blessing in its own right.
As I look back now, no one understood her ability to mother, to caregive. They were either oblivious to it or they were jealous of her ability.
Somewhere within three months my mother miscarried once again for the third time in eighteen months. Her fifth miscarriage of all of nine or ten pregnancies. Yes, I lost count.
And then it happened. She struck gold.
I watched, wondering when she would finally show. When she finally felt comfortable enough to share what lay inside her with the world. Six months, then she showed. Evidently, she always carried small. I began to dream of all the things I would teach my little brother. It was going to be so cool. My older brother wanted another sister. Reason being, it was that my Mom had spoiled him. Telling him, he was the Prince. I had been his bodyguard and his confidant. My mother told me early on I was that 'brother's keeper.' And so I was. He carried the name.
Time passed, her water broke nearly a month early. And here we were, my brother now age 15 and me age 13. Mom gave birth, after eight hours of labor.
And to my brother's wishes, it was a baby girl. And to mine, she was just fine. Happy Birthday Tibby!!!!----Jody-Lynn Reicher
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