Well, that title got your attention didn't it?
It was a very cold, blustery December night way back in 1953. The old house we lived in was not what one would call 'energy efficient' by today's standards. I have been told there were cracks in the walls and a few holes in the floor. Wood was piled high by the front door, and the old stove crackled, sparked, and was red from the heat. Dad, mom, and their four children were huddled around it trying to stay as warm as possible. As those home fires were burning high, you would know, that I would choose the coldest, nastiest day of the year to make my presence known. Nervous, anxious anticipation, and yes, even fear were just a few of the emotions that were running rapid in that little country shack as time was drawing near.
Dad threw his coat on and hurried out to warm the old car, but of course this would be the day when it would not start. Christmas Eve, no less, just when I was giving my mother so much pain and agony. The time had come, I was ready to get on with life, so there was nothing else that could be done but for dad to run up the old dirt road to see if the neighbor could take mom to the clinic in Advance Missouri, or to see if he could borrow their car. Either way, he finally did get her to the clinic in time.
My brother next to me, AKA 'Pete" was 8 years old when I decided to come into this world and being the baby for 8 years and then being booted, just doesn't set to well. He was not at all pleased to have a baby in the family, especially if said baby was a girl. A few hours later when mom arrived home, and I was proudly presented to my new family, wrapped, red, and rosy cheeked, the first words out of Pete's mouth was, and I quote "Let's just take her to the pond and drowned her". Needless to say, jealousy to the max had just set in. We all know that if those words were to be spoken in this day, he surely would be taken off to juvy hall or somewhere that the experts could watch him and diagnose him with anger issues.
I guess looking back on the situation, I didn't choose the most opportune time to make my arrival. It was Christmas Eve, after all, but I thought I would make a grand Christmas present! The other kids, however, just really didn't think so. Matter of fact, I don't think they were too impressed with me at all. This little fat bouncing ball of joy! I mean heck, I couldn't ride a bike or play ball, or anything. All I could do was eat, sleep, and well you know........plus the fact that I was the only present they got that year other than a couple bags of candy that was brought to them by a local church . (Or so I have heard "stupid candy".) I've been told that mom was so busy making my gowns, bibs, and booties that she didn't have time nor money to even make the other kids any hand made items. So there is no wonder they were not happy to see me..... But at least I wasn't naked!!!
Now you are asking how I remember all this so vividly since I was just an infant. But the story is so real to me, for you see, every year at Christmas, when it is my birthday, my brothers especially, do not cease to remind me that I was the only thing they got for Christmas that year. Yes, I have heard this same story for 63 years, same ole same ole, so after many times of hearing it, I just know that I remember it all happening. I think over the years they have decided to accept the fact that what is done is done, and I am here to stay. But I also know that deep down in their hearts they wouldn't have it any other way. I was truly the baby of the family and they all let me know it. If I could go back in time, I might try and choose a different day to be born, because looking through the eyes of a child, I am sure they thought they had been cheated out of a present. After all "what" are you going to do with a real live baby girl??? (joking of course, I realize I had no control over my birth day.)
Now we are all grown with kids and grand kids of our own. I know that we all enjoy watching our families open their gifts, but every Christmas that comes is a vibrant memory of a day gone by. When times were back breakingly hard, meager, yet simple. Where the only excitement on a cold Christmas day was hearing the cries of a newborn baby. Yet in the midst of it all they survived. We survived, and it brought all of us to where we are today.
I do believe as long as my brothers and sisters are living that I will always remind them of those hard times, especially at Christmas. Hopefully there is a fond memory or two mixed in somewhere. I know for certain that for years to come they will still remind me every year of the Christmas when me and a bag of candy was all they got. This I know for sure also, that if God chooses to leave me here when they are all gone I will forever and lovingly remember 'The Day I Was Born'.