Meet my fifth beautiful child. Mary Jessica. Mary is thirteen and she is smack dab in the middle. There are four in front of her, and four behind her. And unfortunately for her, she is smack dab in the middle of brothers!!
Let's start at the beginning though. When Jacob was about nine months old, I became pregnant with Mary. I remember walking the floor with a crying Jacob, Dave was in nursing school and I was crying, thinking, "I can't handle the four I have, how am I going to have another one?"
Then I became upset with myself. I thought, why can't I be like the Blessed Mother, and just say yes and be happy about it. So that is what I did.
It was a tough pregnancy. Dave was gone a lot due to school and work. I remember being so huge, and bathing four children, bending over the tub with my huge belly. My feet hurt, my ankles hurt. And that was the summer my brother unexpectedly dropped off my seven year old niece. I thought my husband was going to explode. At me. Not my brother. I walked around for the THREE weeks I had my niece living with us, saying, "I am seven months pregnant, I can't do this". After two days of that, my dear hubby said, "I know, I know. We all know. YOU'RE SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT!" Oh, did I mention it was July. It was hot, my ankles were swollen and I was taking care of five children under the age of seven. Did I mention I was seven months pregnant?
It was the summer of my discontent. But then at the end of September, Mary arrived. We decided to name her after our Grandmothers, Mary after Dave's two grammas, middle name, Jessica, after mine. As sweet as can be. And a huge mama's girl. Always wanted to be with me. I was the only one who knew how she wanted to be held. My father in law would tease me. He would come to babysit and I would have to explain to him how to wrap her in her blanket, and show him exactly how she liked to be held. "Jeepers," he'd say. "This is the only one of your babies who comes with massive instructions". She wanted to be held really close. She loved to be right up against me, all snuggled up in a blanket.
And when you walked the floors with her, you had to walk the room diagonally. I kid you not. The child knew if you strayed from her pattern! Listen guys, I had a houseful of kids. I didn't care what it took to get this baby to sleep, if she wanted me to walk around the house counterclockwise I would have done it!
As she got older her eccentricities did not stop there. She said "yesh" and "note" instead of "yes" and "no". She had huge blue eyes that took up her whole face, as cute as can be. Which made people want to pick her up and hug her and smooch her. NO. Mary would have none of that. She would stand back and look at people like they were the oddest things in the world. She had such a snooty way of looking at people. We used to say she looked at all of us like she was saying, "There obviously has been some mistake. I do not belong with you people. I should be in East Amherst where my real family is!" (For those of you who are not from around here, East Amherst is a suburb of Buffalo where the richy rich live.)
She would attach herself to certain people, and there was no rhyme or reason. She would instantly know if she liked someone and that was that. Just now I was thinking, she loved my dad, God rest his soul. He loved her too. We went to the fair the summer following and he lovingly carried her around all day. She held onto him and I remember afterwards she smelled like his after shave because she had pressed her face into his all day. What a sweet memory.
People used to say that poor Mary has it rough with two older brothers right in front of her, but let me tell you, that girl can hold her own. I will never have to worry about her and guys. Anyone tries anything on that girl and she will slug them. I have been saying that since she was little, and as she grows, that does not change. Mary antagonizes her brothers quietly. Gets them all worked up. Then they start hooting and hollering and they get in trouble even though she started it. In our household, it is all about peace and quiet. The one who is the loudest is the one who gets in trouble, whether or not they started it. Mary is smart. She learned that quickly!
Mary admits that she is a tomboy. No girlie girl nail polish for her. Her style in clothes is fashionable but she only wears dresses when I force her too. She is much like her brothers in that I have to remind her that we own a tub and she should use it. I am hoping that will change now that she is a teenager!
Mary is methodically slow. It's because Mary is in her own world and easily distracted. You can send her upstairs to get something, and call her down twenty minutes later and ask where the item is that you sent her up for, and she will look at you like, "you sent me up there to get something?" laugh and say, " ohhhhh, now I remember..." Argh. In a family with nine kids, this in not an endearing quality to say the least. Although sometimes I think there is a method to her madness in that we now ask her very rarely to get something because we don't have the time to wait for her to come down without it!
When Mary was about four or five, we would all be running around getting ready for church on Sunday. Mary would be standing looking out the front door and no one would be noticing that she wasn't getting ready because we were all running around getting ourselves and the babies in the house ready. We would be ready to go and I would look at Mary in her sweat pants and tee shirt and say, "Mary, why aren't you ready?!!!" And with a serious face that child would say to me, "Where are we going?" Yes, yes. The child would actually ask me where were we going? Like it was something new for us to be going to Mass on a Sunday. Like she never even noticed all the commotion going on around her! "Why, are we going somewhere?"
She's better now. Now, she is only looking for her shoes when we are all walking out the door. The child has been dressed for an hour and a half but doesn't look for her shoes until she see us all walking out! I love her but sometimes.....
Mary is my "sit and talk with me in the kitchen child". She will sit on the stool at the peninsula and entertain me for hours while I cook or clean. We have silly talks and she can make me laugh. She is also the best with the two little girls. She lets them sit in her lap for hours and entertains them on the computer. My best cleaning days, are the ones where Mary takes charge of her two baby sisters.
Mary also makes friends easily. Friends of all ages. Grown ups and teenagers and toddlers just love her! She has the best personality! Her best friend, Carla's family, totally love her. They are an immigrant Hispanic family and everyone from the gramma to the three year old little brother love her. When she goes for a sleep over she stays for three nights because they won't give her back to me. The three year old brother hates me because I come to pick her up and he gets mad at me for taking away his Mary. It is so sweet and funny. She is a lovable girl.
She is smarter than she thinks. And funnier than she knows. I love having her around. She is a blessing in my life.
I love my Mary very, very much. She has a grampa up in heaven who I know is watching over her. He would be very proud of the young woman she is becoming.
I know I am.