August 8, 1970
When I woke up, I heard the usual clamoring in the kitchen and expected to see mom when I turned the corner in our small home. To my surprise my grandma was standing there in mom's place at the sink. That could only mean one thing . . . mom and dad were at the hospital . . . and the baby was on the way. Or was already born! I still remember the rush of excitement I felt.
Grandma was allowed to tell me that our baby sibling was born - but she had strict orders from dad to not tell us girls the details. I could hardly stand it. A Girl? A Boy? Thankfully it wasn't much longer before dad walked in the back door and announced that we had added another girl to our family! Though it would have been fun to have a baby brother, now I thought, "Four girls - just like the story I loved, Little Women".
We all got involved in choosing a name for the baby. To tell you the truth, I can't remember the boys name we chose. I do remember many talks about a girl name though. "How about "Beth" like in Little Women"? Or "Jo"? Or "Amy"? Finally we all came to the conclusion that we liked "Amy Jo". So on August 8, 1970 -- we all welcomed Amy Jo into our lives.
At eleven years old, I was pretty sure MY mom wasn't going to have any more children. Mostly because she said so. That didn't mean that I wasn't beyond begging -- and praying for a little baby sister or brother. I loved babies and I wanted one to care for and hold whenever I wanted. I'm pretty sure it was Easter morning (in April) when Mom came into my bedroom and quietly told me she was pregnant. "You are? Really? You wouldn't joke about this would you?" She assured me she was telling the truth. Our family was going to have another addition - A baby. My prayers were answered, my dreams were coming true before my tear-filled eyes. At least the baby was due in August so I'd have SOME time to love and care for it before school started.
It had been nearly 7 years since Barbara was born and there was definitely a void of baby gear and clothes in the house. At eleven years old, I knew mom needed a baby shower. A surprise baby shower. Our neighbor, Sharon, was amazing. She walked me through the process and helped make the baby shower happen - at her house. We totally surprised mom. I was in my glory!
(Amy at 2 weeks)
I felt like Amy's second mom. People called me that too, and I didn't care a bit. Every chance I could, I held her. I even told mom to sleep-in some mornings and I'd get up with Amy. I did it all, changed her diaper, took care of her little belly button and gave her a bottle (heated on the stove in a pan of water!) I think I remember getting up in the night with her too - or at least sitting up with mom in the middle of the night sometimes.
Amy Jo - or as we nicknamed her "Tiger Jo" - because she was such a handful--full of life and laughter and spunk. Mischievous. Smart. There was no end to her antics or cute sayings. We needed Amy in our life. We still do.
Today, Amy is 38. I used to do the math when she was a baby --- "When Amy goes to kindergarten, I'll be a senior!)" "When Amy is 10, I'll be almost 22. When Amy is 30, I'll be over 40!!!" When Amy is 38, I'll be.....39! Ok, I lie. It's ok, I like having a baby sister - even though she makes me feel and look old in pictures. There are benefits. Kirk and I learned a lot about teenagers when she would come for lengthy visits every summer in her teen years. And now, we get to practice being grandparents with her kids!
All this to say,
Happy 38th Birthday Amy Jo!
Kirk & Cheri