Friday, September 19, 2008
Someone suggested that I write about my children. I have done that, early this year, when I first started blogging. I did a sort of summary of my four. I've also written quite a bit about my youngest, Kitty, and did a post on the next youngest, Rita. I had every intention of going on to the other two, but somehow got distracted along the way. So, today I will talk about my third girl, Ruth. She is the oldest of the four.
Ruth had to be the most eagerly and happily anticipated baby that ever was. Ralph and I were both anxious to start our family. She was born on December 30th, just in time to give us a tax deduction for the year, thank you. We carried her home and put her under the Christmas tree.
She was an angel. Slept through the night from the very first. She talked very early - never baby talk. It was startling to hear grown up words coming from her little mouth so early.
She was only fifteen months old when her little brother arrived. She looked him over, saw the piece of umbilical cord still on his tummy and wanted to know what that was. I gave her the briefest possible explanation, and she said, "Oh. You mean he was plugged in." OK. That was a pretty good answer. She seemed delighted with him.
In another sixteen months, they were joined by another baby girl. I don't think that Ruth was quite so thrilled about this one, though she never acted out. She always seemed to know what we wanted to hear, and that's what she gave us. Joe was a big boy, and always seemed able to hold his own with big sister. Rita was always very small for her age, and Ruth often tried to bully her. She was feisty though, and could usually manage, but we had to watch them. Ruth gave her a pretty hard time, except when we were looking.
Because she acted older than her years, and simply because she was the oldest, I think we may have expected a bit much of her. But she rose to the challenge, and she was always as good as gold. Never gave us any problem - until she was five. Then one day she walked into the kitchen alone, came out looking all innocent, and shortly after, when I happened to go in there I found all the gas jets turned on. "Did you do this?" "No" And that was how it all began. She really gave us a run for our money. She was smart as a whip, and had a very strong opinion of her own capability to do whatever she set her mind to, with or without our approval. She never told us if she got into any kind of difficulty - until she had found her way through it, and the whole thing was resolved. Then she might confide what had gone on. (She's still like that.)
I used to tell her she was responsible for every gray hair on my head. We lived in New York, and as the kids became teenagers, they had a curfew. She never kept it.
Ruth was ten years old when number four came along. She immediately became a second mother to Kitty. Here they are in 1969. The oldest and youngest remain close to one another today. But Ruth often tried to override my advice or wishes concerning Kit. And guess who Kitty listened to more often than not.
Isn't it lucky for us all that kids do manage to outgrow most of their less than charming traits as they get older?
Two years after Ralph passed away, the rest of us moved to New Jersey, where we could be close to family members. Ruth remained in New York, where she was attending college. She has never left. She is a true Long Island girl. This is how my girls looked in 1980. The three of them are so different in appearance.
Soon after college graduation, Ruth married Gary, the boy she had been seeing for some time. They remained on Long Island. In due time, there were two children - now adults. She and Gary have since divorced, but we haven't managed to persuade her to join us here. Her life has been in New York forever, and she has many good friends there and is enjoying the job that she has now. And of course, her children are there.
This is one of my favorite pictures of her. I think it's typical of her today.
Ruth has become more than my daughter. She is now my very good friend. I am very proud of her. She is a warm, wonderful person. She has a gift for story telling, and can keep you in stitches of laughter at any given time. Whenever she might decide to re-locate to Jersey, it would make me very happy.
But I'm not holding my breath.