Mama tells me that I used to call Maryann my baby doll. The most notorious story of the two of us was when I convinced Maryann that I needed to cut her hair. I was four, she was two. So you can only imagine how lovely the haircut turned out. My mom said that Maryann looked Benjamin Franklin for a year. But the kicker is, I took it a step further. I told Maryann to tell Mama & Daddy that she cut her own hair. And she did it! And they believed her! I never told a soul the truth until I was 8. Maryann never uttered a word either.
Maryann & I were so close in age that we always fought but got along at the same time. She didn’t like the kind of clothes I wore, I didn’t like how friggin genius smart she was. But we have always been close. I remember that Maryann used to pretty much do whatever I told her to do for a few years. The day she told me “No!” for the first time was a shock to all that is good in this world (or my little world.) The first time she outsmarted (there have been many more times since then) I was completely speechless.
|Maryann & Me.
When Whitley was born I was 4 years old. I remember my mom going into labor and then Maryann & I being dropped off at a family friend’s house. I mostly remember this lady’s yellow linoleum floor (random) and how I ran all over that floor from the kitchen, to the living room, back to the kitchen screaming, “Name her Lisa. Name her Lisa. Name her Lisa.” Clearly, they didn’t listen. I have no idea why they didn’t allow the four year old to name the new baby, but I’m glad they didn’t. She is definitely NOT a Lisa and definitely a Whitley.
Whitley has always been special. She was close enough in age that she was a friend, but far enough away that she was like a baby sister. She could kick anyone’s butt in any sport-she was a natural athlete. Where I had to train & practice for hours she had this unbelievable ability to be amazing at it. In fact, our elementary school started a 4th grade basketball team just so Whitley could play ball. She also had health issues so when Whitley gets sick the whole family shuts down, even to this day. She can call me & tell me has a cold & I go into big sister mode & I try to fix it & give her a million directions of what she should be doing. You know, she’s only 22 & has been married for a year & a half. She can pretty much handle herself these days. But I can’t help it.
|My mom & her 3 girls. If you look closely, you can see Maryann’s Ben Franklin haircut (she’s in the middle.)
My mom always wanted a boy. She had three girls and was ready for that boy. But when everyone would ask me what I wanted her to have I would tell them a girl. I’m so glad she didn’t have another girl. Thomas is my baby. We were at my grandparents’ house when my mom went into labor with him. It was a hot August night & my parents had just gotten us all loaded up into the car & I heard my mom say, “My water just broke!” So we all piled out of the car, Grandma made us pallets in the floor (she had 5 more grandchildren staying the night then too) and we all stayed up & watched Herbie Goes Bananas.
Thomas & I are super close. When he started kindergarten I walked him to class every.single.morning. It didn’t matter if I was going to be late, we walked hand in hand through that class room door every day. When I started high school I joined the cross country team even though I had never run long distance in my life. My dad took me out to the local track & told me to run 12 laps to reach a 5k. Thomas, who is 6 years younger than me, ran every.single.lap with me & kept pace with me. Needless to say, he ended up being a major runner in junior high, high school, & still runs a good 6-10 miles in present day.
|Thomas is in the front. I’m in the middle. Whitley is in the back.
You could call John Michael and me book ends. We look identical. My parents always call us their alpha & omega. I was 9 when he was born and in the 3rd grade. One day Mama asked me, “Kate, would you rather have your own room or a new brother or sister?” That was a dangerous question, it could have gone all wrong. But I didn’t even have to think about it, I told her I wanted a new brother or sister. When he was born he had to stay in the hospital for a few days because of something. Waiting for him to come home felt like an eternity! I thought he would never get to leave!
We call him Boo. It used to be Boo Bear. One day he said that he did NOT like to be called Boo Bear because that was a baby’s name. So we asked him how he felt out just being called Boo. And this kid’s reply, remember he was only like 8, was, “I like Boo Radley. He was cool.” He was talking about To Kill a Mockingbird. How many 8 year olds talk about To Kill Mockingbird?!! Only the genius ones!
He is always the first to say “I love you” when we get off the phone. I always thought that he would eventually outgrow me giving give him hugs & kisses because it wouldn’t be “cool” for him. He never did outgrow it & I get hugs from him all the time. I have always been impressed with how intelligent he is and how HILARIOUS he is! That kid can make me laugh so hard! And guess what?! He’s moving to my town to go to college next year–I can.not.wait! YES!
|The completed group! Meeting John Michael for the first time.
|John Michael & Me. I remember thinking that he was just so cute.That’s Maryann on the left, you can see her hair grew back. 🙂