Let me go back a few years, 1966 to be exact.
We were a family of 4. Daddy, Mother, Anne and me. I had always wanted a baby brother or sister. I had always prayed for a baby brother or sister, but not much I could do about it besides pray. Mother and Daddy surprised us one day to say that we were indeed going to be big sisters!! Mother was expecting!! I had kind of thought it would not happen because Mother was 35 and we thought our family was complete. Back then, that was not the norm to have a baby at that stage in your life. But interesting enough, three other friends of ours, all Mother`s age and even older, each announced that they were going to have a baby too!! You certainly didn`t do any tests to find out what the baby was going to be, unless there was a medical problem, so we were content in the fact that we would be adding a new baby, either a girl or boy, to our family in May, 1966.
Anne was 15, I was 12, so our lives were busy with just the normal teenager things. Our best friends, the Pattersons lived beside us, , and we all were anticipating the birth with such excitement!!. The Pattersons were a family of 4 too. Our two Daddys were best friends. Our Mothers were best friends and us girls were all best friends. They were like family and almost as excited as we were!!
Fast forward a few months…… the morning of May 24… Mother and Daddy wake us up, telling us they were on the way to the hospital. I think we were still in our pajamas, as we walked down the steps with them, we had already called and woke up the Pattersons…. and the four of them, plus Anne and me were standing in the driveway, waving as they pulled out to head to the hospital! I can still to this day, see us, in my mind, standing there, as if it were yesterday!
Mr. Patterson took us all to school. Jane and I were in the 6th grade together and our sisters were both in high school. I don`t know where Daddy went first, but I remember later in the afternoon being called out of my class , to the office, where he was waiting to tell me…”It`s a boy!!” We were all beyond excited. William Reed McMahon, Jr. had arrived that day and all was right in the world.
Mother used to tell us that Daddy cried when he heard the news at the hospital about it being a boy. You see, Daddy was a care giver, just like Mother. He cared for his mother, father, sister,…. several great aunts, our mother`s mother, and her grandmother, her mother`s best friend and her mothers best friends mother!! He was the only man on most of our family get togethers. So, he was delighted to have a little boy to help with the male population in our family!!
The Pattersons loved Billy like he was their own. We had so many great dinners with them at our house. Yes, Billy got his fair share of attention during those years…. Still, life was good. Anne and I enjoyed having a little one to do things for us!! (Just the stuff that older siblings do with the little siblings!) Once, we tried putting mascara on him because he had the longest most beautiful eyelashes!! Well, that was a huge mistake! Daddy got so mad at us, that we didn`t try that again!!
The Pattersons moved 4 years later. We all would pack up in the summer to go visit them in Richmond. In 1974, our sweet Daddy died of cancer. Billy was only 8 years old. Just 4 short months later, Mr. Patterson died of a heart attack. In 2010, Meddie Patterson died after she had a massive stroke, and just 5 months later, our Mother died of cancer. God brought our two families together with lots of joy and great memories. He walked with us as we had similar life journeys. Now, we five children from Shades View Lane, have grown up with families of our own.
Today, with fond memories, I look back and remember that day, all those years ago, that we all stood together and waved goodbye to Mother and Daddy as they were about to welcome Billy into the world. They would be so proud of our little brother today, just as his two older sisters are!!
We always had our yearly sibling picture for Mother…
Happy Birthday, baby brother,
We love you!!