My husband’s aunt, Marion Kanta was his dad, Walt Schulenberg’s older sister. It was just the two kids for the first 13 years of her life, and the first 11 years of his life. For much of his early life, Aunt Marion, like many older sisters, was the bossy one. She tried to make sure her little brother did all the things he was supposed to do…or at least, all the things she told him to do. As little brothers would tell you, that bossy big sister thing didn’t really go over very well. Nevertheless, while they did fight sometimes, he did love her. Don’t let that make you think that he never hit his big sister. It’s a sibling thing after all, but boys had to be taught to treat girls like ladies, and so hitting his big sister didn’t go over well with their mother, Vina. So, as time went on, Walt learned to be a nice boy, and not hit his sister.
Of course, as they grew up, all that childish squabbling was behind them, and they became good friends, even though they lived in two different states. Aunt Marion, her husband and 8 children lived in Helena, Montana; and Walt, his wife and 6 children lived in Casper, Wyoming. The families got together as often as they could, but it really was pretty much a couple of times a year. That is often the case when families live so far apart. Nevertheless, it doesn’t diminish the love between siblings.
I remember that whenever we would go to Forsyth, Montana to visit Grandma Hein, Aunt Marion would often come over from Helena for a visit. We enjoyed those visits so much. She was always such a sweet person. There wasn’t even a hint of that bossiness that she was famous for in her youth. I’m not sure her kids would agree, but then it is a mom’s job to be bossy, right. Aunt Marion left us far too soon, when a developed a blood disease in 1999. She was only 72 years old and she was still a very healthy woman in every other way. Today would have been Aunt Marion’s 93rd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Aunt Marion. We love and miss you very much.
As often happens with little girls who are the first born, my niece, Jessi Sawdon was…well, a little bit bossy. She thought, from the very beginning, that she was as much in charge as her parents were. She was independent, she was three…and she was going on twenty. In the very early years of Jessi’s life, her mother discovered that she was going to be a bit of a challenge. When told to do things, Jessi would often argue with her parents. Since her dad worked, and her mom did not, it was usually her mom, my sister, Allyn Hadlock who found herself on the losing side of an argument with a stubborn three year old. When their child is argumentative, most parents try to use creative ways to get around the problem…because, lets face it, no one really likes to spank their child, and my sister is pretty soft hearted anyway. After trying everything from reasoning with Jessi, to arguing back with Jessi, Allyn finally decided to try a little bit different approach. The results were comical.
The next time the arguing started over a task Jessi was asked to perform, such as picking up her toys, Allyn finally said, “I’m the mom…you’re the baby.” Well she quickly found out just how clever and quick her little girl was, when Jessi began to argue with that…saying, “I’n da mom!!” Allyn quickly answered, “No, I’m the mom.” That argument only fueled the fire more, and Jessi said, a little more forcefully this time, “No, I’n da mom!!” Obviously this strategy was getting them nowhere. I mean, what do you say to that. You can argue back and forth all day, but the toys are still going to be on the floor…and Jessi always had a mind of her own, so she would continue to argue if necessary. And to add to the problem, Allyn was having a very hard time keeping a straight face. Jessi was so serious about all this. I really think she thought this was something that could be negotiated…like being the mom was an elected office, and she was going to beat the incumbent on this election.
Through the years some things have changed, but not everything. Jessi is a grown adult, and married to the love of her life. She knows that being the mom is not an elected office, and she understands that her mom will always be her mom. Nevertheless, Jessi still has a tendency to be a bit bossy, and that information came to me directly from her mom. Her family understands Jessi’s ways, and most of the time her bossiness isn’t a problem, but once in a while they have to straighten her out a little bit, and when that happens, Jessi is taken back to her three year old self, when she hears, “You’re not the mom” from her mom or siblings. It is something they do laugh about these days, because it is a cute way of saying, “Jessi, we are all adults here, and you are not the boss of us.” The age old comment of “You’re not the mom” is not usually followed with a three year old comment of “I’n da mom!!” But, once in a while when everyone is in the right mood, you might hear that comment from someone. Either way, they all end up laughing about the whole thing, and really, that is what the comments are all intended to bring about anyway, so everyone is happy.
As I said, Jessi is married now, and while they do not have children yet, I think it is her husband, Jason’s best interest that he be informed now, so there is no doubt about it in the future. Whether he likes it or not, in Jessi’s house, Jason does not get to be the mom. Jessi has been waiting for the day…all her life…when she will get to be the one arguing with her little three year old daughter over who gets to be the mom. Jason will simply have to settle for being the dad, because between them…this is not negotiable!! Today is Jessi’s birthday. Jessi, try not to argue too much…ok. Happy birthday Jessi!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Any time you have two girls whose mom gives birth to a baby brother, you have two little mothers in training. They want to be involved in everything, even if they are only 5 and 7 years older than the baby brother. In fact, that might even make it more likely that they will try to show off their skills. Smaller sisters might not give much thought to a baby brother, but when they start thinking they are big now, they want everyone to know it. And for that little brother…well, he can plan on a lot of years of being bossed around by those sweet, innocent looking little bossy mommies in training. This was the world my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg was born into. Oh, those first couple of years were probably great, being cuddled and pampered by his big sisters, who just loved the baby, but then, he became a toddler, and the terrible twos came about, and suddenly those nice big sisters were just as bossy as they could be.
I first met Ron, when his older brother, Bob and I started dating, and I can tell you that Ron always seemed to find himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing…especially where his older sisters, Jennifer and Brenda were concerned, and older sisters, Marlyce and Debbie agreed. Boys will be boys, but I guarantee that their older sisters are not amused by that fact. I can remember Jennifer and Brenda telling Ron to “knock it off, and behave himself” more than times than I can count. Here he was, just trying to show off for company, and what do those darned big sisters do…well, they just go off and embarrass a guy!! Thankfully, though there were also good times, when they would do things with him and life would be great again, or he might have just had to not like his sisters at all.
It was also a good thing for Ron, that he had a big brother, among those four big sisters, who didn’t mind hanging out with his little brother, even on a date. I suppose it was a matter of Bob having had to live with two older sisters all his life and two younger ones for quite a while. Bob knew what sisters were like, and he had to take sides with his little brother…guys have to stick together…right? I mean, it was four to two, and those were tough odds. And for Ron, the added insult of always being the baby brother, even when he was a great big 5 year old…well, you get the picture.
The good news is that Ron grew up, and as most siblings, with age comes friendship. His sisters found out how handy he was to have around…especially when they needed a helping hand with things. Ron is a great mechanic, and he’s pretty handy with most carpentry tools too, so anytime someone needs something built, he can usually get it done. He will always be their baby brother, but we all agree that he isn’t a baby anymore…in fact the youngest is the tallest!! Maybe that was for self defense, who knows. Today is Ron’s birthday!! Happy birthday Ron!! We love you!!
To live a long life…it’s something that eludes many people. Even those who live to retirement doesn’t guarantee that a person will with well into their eighties or into their nineties, but for Aunt Evelyn, as with several others in my family on both sides, longevity seems to run in the family. I’m glad for her and for us that it does, because that means we get to have her and some of the other family members around longer.
Aunt Evelyn is the oldest of my mom’s siblings, which would mean that she played the biggest part in helping to raise her younger siblings. I suppose there were times when the others felt like she was pretty bossy, but the reality is that the oldest child usually gets dubbed with that title, whether they truly are or not. It comes with the territory. It seems like girls often get the title more than boys too, because they do have that mother instinct. Nevertheless, a big sister can be a good thing to have, as I can clearly attest.
Aunt Evelyn has always been a social person, and participated in several clubs as a young lady. She is also very good at planning the family get togethers, for her family as well as the whole family…such as out family Christmas party, which is coming up quickly. She and her five children’s families work very hard to make the party great when it is their turn to host it, and even when they aren’t hosting, they are among the first to start helping with the cleanup. Good training, I guess.
Today is a milestone day in Aunt Evelyn’s life, as she turns 85 today. Her health is great, and she is still quite active, so I am confident that she will be with us for quite a while. Happy birthday Aunt Evelyn!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!
When my older sister, Cheryl got married, she and her husband moved to Keeseville, New York. There was a changing of the guard, so to speak, at our house. Since Cheryl was the oldest, she was always in charge when our parents weren’t at home, but when Cheryl married, the responsibility shifted to me. I’m sure that if you ask my younger sisters, they would tell you that I…maybe took the power a little too seriously…you know…bossy!! Well, maybe extremely bossy. I wasn’t a very patient person back then, so my little sisters quickly learned not to mess with me much. That kind of power can make a person push all their work on to those people who are in a position whereby they have to obey. That was where my little sisters were.
Oh, it wasn’t a constant thing, and my sisters and I had some very good times together, but as anyone who has ever been in charge of their younger siblings can tell you, being the one in charge does have its up side, and that upside is all about getting out of the work of cleaning the house. Ok, ok…I know it wasn’t probably the nicest thing to do, but I was a kid after all.
That was a long time ago, and we have all grown up. My sisters have long since forgiven me for my big power grab, and we are friends now, but that was a rough time for them…or maybe I wasn’t so different from any other teenager who was in charge of the younger kids while their parents were at work or out for the evening. I like to think that the later is closer to the truth, but I’m also sure my little sisters will still say that I was horrible. All I can say is that it couldn’t have been so bad…I mean, after all, I did let them live!!
Being the only boy in the family had to be somewhat hard for Bob, when he was little. Bob was the first boy born among the grandchildren on both sides of his family. And when that happens…well, we all know how bossy a group of girls can be when there is only one boy in the bunch…especially when he is among the younger children.
I have little proof that Bob was bossed around by the girls, except that…well, being a girl myself, I know that against 5 girls, one little boy would find himself in a situation that was…impossible to be the boss of. And little girls can and do find as many ways to get into lots of trouble as boys do, but with only one little boy in the crowd, guess who will get the blame 9 times out of 10.
I can imagine how my husband, as a little boy, must have felt when the girls told his mom that it was all his idea or that he did it. Bewilderment set in, I’m sure, as he tried to figure out what had just happened, because something most certainly happened, and it wasn’t good. That is a fairly common scenario in the interactions between little boys and little girls. The girls aren’t being mean, it’s just that he was the easiest way out of trouble. I can’t say for sure, but I can see that his big sister, at least, was trying to get something straightened out, make Bob do or say something that he wasn’t cooperating with.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that being the only boy in the crowd isn’t such a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s quite likely that the girls treated him like the baby, especially when they were playing house. And if that meant making him some dinner, I’m sure that went over well, especially since dinner probably meant cookies, or some other such treat. That would make acting like a baby worth while. Besides, it’s never a bad thing for a guy to have a bunch of girls waiting on him hand and foot…right?
Being the only boy is a group of girls has it’s ups and downs, but I suppose there could be worse things in life. And from the looks of things, I don’t think it was something Bob minded very much…most of the time. In fact, knowing my husband, my guess is that most of the time he thought the whole thing was just fine by him….most of the time.