Last week we celebrated the 60th birthday of my youngest sister, Joyce. I can remember when she was born, even though I was only 8 years old. My sister Joan was 7 at the time and when mom went into the hospital, we both came down with measles. It was like we were cursed with something as we were not allowed anywhere near our new family member.
In fact, Joan and I spent a week at the home of a relative. They had girls our age so it wasn’t so bad but I remember getting pretty homesick. We also could not go to school so when they left, we were alone with their mother. It is so different to be sick at that age and not have your mother there to comfort you.
After a week we were able to come home but could not go close to the baby for quite some time. I think all of the measles had to be gone. It was hard to understand why we couldn’t hold or touch that precious little bundle.
I was so happy when I got to be close to her and we have stayed close ever since. I enjoyed (most of the time) pushing her on the swings. She loved swinging. I took her for walks in her stroller and played with her in the sandbox.
As I got older, the time spent with her was a little less fun. I would yell at her for getting into my things and refuse to play with her when she begged. I became a teenager and having a little sister was not fun.
When I got married, Joyce was only 11 and she was so sad when I didn’t have her as a bridesmaid since all the other sisters were included. Instead she sat at the guest book and later she told me that this was the first occasion where she was able to wear nylons. What a thing to remember about my wedding.
Fast forward several years and lots of fun memories. We worked together at the newspaper for several years and even took some trips together. We include her in so many things in my family and she is wonderful at attending events the grandkids participate in. In fact she is a wonderful aunt to all of her nieces and nephews. She has been a shoulder to cry on when death takes our loved ones and a willing partner as we celebrate weddings.
Joyce really doesn’t like being referred to as the ‘baby’ of the family but has no qualms about letting us know that she is younger than everyone. It has been a lot of fun reconnecting with that little bundle of joy who decided to arrive when she could have the rest of the family all to herself. I hope to have many more years to share with her and make up for the first days that I missed.