And Then There Was Ellyn… (part 4 of 4)

Finally, Ellyn was here. A full 3 weeks late and weighing in at 10 pounds 6 ounces.

I was so tired and out of it that when they held her up to me, I could barely look. I noticed that she was very blue and quite bloated. The reason she was blue was the Pitocin had not allowed her to get much oxygen between contractions, so this delivery had been very hard on her as well. And this sounds terrible, but I tried not to think that I got my girl – and she was a bit crazy-looking at the moment…

I remained in delivery for a good hour getting repaired from having such a large baby. The doc said, “just tell me when you start to feel the stitches and I’ll numb you again.” I reminded him at least 3 times!

Soon I was taken to a regular room and it was all over. I can’t tell you the relief that washed over me. But that was purely for myself. I also needed to talk to my sister-in-law Karen who had lost her baby a mere two weeks earlier. It was hard to be so happy for my own new baby girl when she had so recently lost hers. I tell her story here.

But now it was done. We had our boys. We had our girl. Both Bill and I could relax and just enjoy our family. And we did.

I was in seventh heaven with my new daughter. Every time I changed her diaper I would check again to confirm this was a girl child. How could I be so fortunate? It was inconceivable. I was overjoyed with my newly complete family.

Within a week or so, Ellyn lost that bloated look. She had just enough jaundice to have a bit of a “tan” and she was gorgeous. And she looked especially good in pink. I had one little “sack” outfit (drawstring bottom) that flattered her immensely. I would put it on her whenever someone came to visit and they would automatically declare that she was the most beautiful baby they had ever seen. I’m not kidding!

One day a good friend, Debbie came over to see Ellyn. I had the baby propped up in the corner of the couch dressed in pink and Debbie went nuts. “She’s beautiful!” cried Debbie over and over. And after our visit, Debbie called back to see if she could bring a few more people over to see this most gorgeous baby. “Of course!” I replied with pride.

Naturally, my mother and mother-in-law were on board with this. Betty, in particular, could not stop bragging on this beautiful grand baby. She really wouldn’t stop talking about it. So finally, HER mother-in-law, Big Bill’s mother (Georgia) Grandma Daubenmire, called me up one day. “I have to come over and see this “beautiful baby” she said with a suspicious laugh.

“Sure,” I replied. “Whenever you like!”

Later that day, Grandma D arrived at the door. She barged right through and zeroed in on Ellyn. She looked her over and up and down a couple times. She sat on the couch and I handed her the baby to hold.

Grandma studied Ellyn for a couple minutes and then said, “I don’t see what the big deal is here. This looks like a normal baby to me.”

Of course I didn’t think so, but I did know what she meant.

“Oh, she’s normal all right. But I do think she looks good in pink.”

“Maybe so,” admitted Grandma. “But pretty normal overall.”

And I just recently relayed this story to Ellyn herself – almost 40 years later – and she had a good laugh about it. “Maybe that’s where I get MY personality!” she said.

So that’s the story of Ellyn making her arrival, but it doesn’t really stop there. Not at all.

Remember, this baby girl had identical twin older brothers – which she didn’t know about when she got here – and she had to learn to deal with that. Which she did admirably…

The thing is, everyone has to adjust when twins come into your life. From the time they were born – and even after I had Ellyn – I was tempted to make a sign to wear around my neck that answered everyone’s first twin questions. I dressed them alike but people still asked the craziest things. So my sign (if I had one) would have said…

Yes, they are twins.

Yes, they are boys.

Yes, I can tell them apart.

These were innocent questions, of course, but I couldn’t believe the things people actually asked. I always dressed the boys alike – usually in blue – yet people would ask, “are they twins?” and “is one a girl” and “can you tell them apart?”

Duh….

But when Ellyn was old enough, I never had to answer those stupid questions because she took over… somewhere around age 2. When anyone would stop us out of curiosity, my daughter would look them in the eye and then point to the boys. “That’s Billy, that’s Brad, and I’M Ellyn!” she would declare. She picked up early on the fact that she had to stand her ground to be even with twin brothers. And she has always done so. Never in a demeaning way – just protective of both herself and them.

And let me tell you, she is one strong personality. The boys were always marshmallows in comparison. They rarely challenged her but Brad and Ellyn didn’t always get along. Billy never made waves with either one. He is the most easy-going of all three. Brad is very focused but has a good sense of humor like his brother. And since Ellyn came after him he likes to joke that he is a “middle child.” Now that’s funny!

So yes, I got my beloved daughter all those years ago but she made me work to train her, unlike the boys. If the boys misbehaved, I would sit them on the couch for a time out and they would look at me fearfully until they could get up. Then they would run off together to console each other and recover from their “harrowing” punishment.

Ellyn was a tough nut to crack. She would stare me in the face and defy me. I would send her to her room and she didn’t care. Once, when she was two, I smacked her and she smacked me back. I had to learn new tactics to deal with her. I was thankful for years that I didn’t have two of her!

Raising Ellyn was a roller coaster ride. We had extended good times and occasional bad times. But we got through it. And we loved each other intensely every step of the way. That was never in question.

Later this year, my daughter Ellyn will be 40 years old. She has 3 children of her own that she fights her own battles with. The cycle continues.

Meanwhile, I still have my sons. But you know what? You have to let sons “go” in a sense. They grow up, get married and have families of their own. They need to “leave” their mother to cleave to their wives. I recognize that. I remember being a new wife and competing with my mother-in-law for my husband’s affection. It can be a strange balance but I want my sons to be bonded with their wives while always remembering I am also their mother. I’ve stepped down a notch in their everyday lives but never in their hearts. I know that.

But my daughter…

She is a precious love like no other. She knows me inside and out just like I do her. We talk almost every day. If we don’t, I start to worry because I need to know how she is. And if I bug her too much, she’ll say, “Mom, get a grip! I can’t be your only friend!” She’s not my only friend, of course, but she’s my most important friend. She’s literally a part of me. She is also part of my heart.

In the last ten years or so I’ve needed a lot of help with various things. House things… gardening… recovering from surgery… and on and on. Ellyn is downright intuitive about it. If she gets the vibe I need something, she’s on the spot delivering it. Without fail. Much to my amazement and the wonder of her brothers.

Bill and Brad now call her “The Third” because she was my third child. And they always say, “Thank God for The Third!” And boy do they mean it! I could never express to the boys when I need certain things or why – they would be stricken to think they were ignoring me in any way – but Ellyn just KNOWS. She always KNOWS. And she delivers.

My sister – who ran from the hospital in fear the day Ellyn was born – now calls me to talk and when the subject of my daughter comes up, she always says, “I need an Ellyn!” And indeed, everyone does.

But you can’t have mine. She is a treasure worth more than any amount of money in the world. You can’t put a price on her. And in real life, she has her own problems and doesn’t see her worth. But I do. And I will always remember the day she was born – and her growing up time – and her rebellious time – and her coming-back time as the periods of my life with her that I will always prize. Is she perfect? No. Is she the most kind-hearted, hard-working, loyal person in the world? Yes.

I’ve posted this sketch of Ellyn before, but here it is again.

Ellyn3b

And then there was Ellyn…

And as I’m sure all my friends with daughters will agree…. I love my darling girl.

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