I have six thousand sisters and a bunch of brother-in-laws but not one single brother. My father says that when they told me about the births of my youngest sisters I began to cry and complained that he and my mother had ruined my life.
The majority of my memories of growing up with just sisters are positive. That is not to say that we didn’t fight, because we did. It was almost always them against me. Those wacky dames worked as a team to get me in trouble and they did a good job of it. They were so good that I sometimes wonder how I survived.
When we were relatively young they sometimes took out their anger by physically attacking me. They knew that I wasn’t allowed to hit them back and they took advantage of it. So I learned that I could shepherd them into a room and then close the door. To this day they’ll claim that I locked them in there. It is not true. I merely gave the illusion that they were locked in there.
The day that my daughter was born was one of the most emotional of my life. It was two days after my father’s triple bypass and the culmination of quite a number of other events. I remember watching the nurse clean her up. This tiny creature with a mop of black hair, same color as mine.
Her older brother was just down the hall. He has my hands and my feet, but his hair and complexion are lighter than mine. Not so with the dark haired beauty.
I remember taking her into my arms and staring at her. Staring at this little person and remembering all the crazy times with my sisters. The good and the bad. I stared at her and realized that one day boys would be chasing her. I remember thinking it was crazy to think about that because it was so far off. And then she reached out with her little hand and grabbed my index finger.
As soon as she grabbed it I knew that I was done. That one move had done something to me. I lifted her up and whispered into her ear promises that I would always be there to help her, to protect and take care of her. I told her that I would see to it that when I wasn’t around her brother would do it for me.
Somewhere in the distance I could feel my sisters’ approval. I knew that as crazy as I made them they would appreciate it. I knew that though they sometimes complained about me being overprotective they appreciated it and that they would tell their niece the same thing.
And now 5.5 years later I stare at this amazing girl in amazement. The girl who told me that she wanted to cook for me. I asked her what she would make and she said that I had a choice of pizza, peanut butter and jelly or matzoh with butter. It wasn’t one of those play offers that kids make either. She was serious.
She told me that when I am really old I can come live with her and she’ll take care of me. She is serious, this girl of mine. I thanked her for it and told her that we have a long time before that happens. She smile back at me and said that I am really old, almost 41.
It made me laugh. And then she ordered me to sit down on the couch, climbed into my lap and told her brother to bring a drink because “Dad is thirsty.” Of course when she specified apple juice he knew that she was trying to use me as leverage to make him work and consequently refused. The big brother part of me silently applauded, “well played my boy” and then I asked him to come sit with us.
As he walked over I smiled silently because he is done too, he just doesn’t know it yet. Oy, this girl of mine is something else. So is her brother, but there is something different here. I love them equally, but I really am going to have to kill the boys that come looking for her. If I shoot the first two or three I might have a fighting chance.
Of course she’s not going to make it easy for me. She already recognizes half my tricks and senses the others. I am going to have to work extra hard to fool Daddy’s girl.