Today is my baby sister's birthday. Which also happens to be the same day our maternal grandmother was born. In our family, July 26 is a very, very special day.
We all grew up close and happy. But JoLai and I? We were close in the literal sense.
Ten months apart to be exact. Yes. You read that correctly. Ten. Months. Apart.
Here's the back story on that:
A young couple with three children decided they were done having kids. To make sure that this would be the case, the dad of those three kids had a vasectomy. And that was fine. It would be Draper, party of five, just like the name of that old television series.
Well. As it turns out, man plans and God laughs. "Bwah ha ha," He said on high. That fine print that tells you to wait a few rounds before aiming at the target? Well, let's just say that's more than just a notion.
My mother wasn't even twenty four years old. A little drowsy. Breast tenderness. And, if she didn't know better, she'd think we was pregnant. Oh, because she was.
Let me just tell you--when you are twenty three and you already have three little BITTY kids at home AND you're not even all the way out of the postpartum-y feelings of your last little BITTY child and THEN on top of that you scrape your pennies together for a VAS-ectomy and THEN someone tells you you're pregnant?
Chile please. My mama was despondent. For reals.
They weren't ready for another baby. And besides, they'd just had a baby. Oh, and they'd just bought their first house. This was too much. It wouldn't work.
No, it would not.
So they talked and thought and made the choice that they felt was best. Though difficult, the plan would be to keep things at a party of five. And so they went forward with that plan.
But in the eleventh hour, Mom had a change of heart.
The result was JoLai.
Now. Would this choice have been the best one for every single family in every single place under every single circumstance? Well. That question is rhetorical. How could I possibly speak for every single family (or woman) in every single place under every single circumstance? I can't. So I won't. And even with this--my family's story--I don't.
Their choice became my baby sister JoLai. Ten months apart. Which means we're both the same number of years annually from July to September. Side by side in the same classes (since she was so stinking gifted) and forehead to forehead in height as kids. Asked if we were twins more often than not and finishing each other's sentences as if we were.
It was a wonderful childhood with JoLai. And you know? I'm proud to be 43 with her today. And I'm ever so thankful that we became and shall always be:
Draper, Party of six.
Happy Birthday, JoLai.