Sibling Rivalry

Growing up I was always so jealous of my little sister. You see, I was my parents' one and only precious, little girl, born 5 years after my brother. Evidently brother was quite a challenge to my mother, and perhaps I was the baby doll that she didn't have as a child growing up in the Depression years. She always dressed and groomed me meticulously, much to my dismay. I was determined to spit on and wrinkle up all those perfectly starched lace collars and continuously tugged and scratched the crinolines. Hey, all those frills were itchy in the hot and humid south. I was just trying to soften them up a bit. Looking back, perhaps I was not the little girlie girl that my Mother thought I should be.

Remember in those days when pregnancy was not a word anyone said out loud. I can remember Mother answering my questions regarding her growing mid section by shushing me and saying that it was a secret. HUH? What's the big deal? Not letting it cause me any concern, I tore off my pretty little dress and pulling on a pair of shorts (no shirt because it was HOT in August), off I would run to tag along after my older brother and cousin, riding on the back of the hay wagons coming in from the fields.

Fast forward, Christmas 1954, Mother was in the hospital and came home the day after Christmas with the ultimate gift. A sweet little baby sister. Now just what was she thinking? I didn't want that thing. Sibling rivalry at it's best had reared it's ugly head. For six and a half years I had been the queen bee. On the other hand, Mother was too busy to starch all that lace and crinoline petticoats anymore, thank goodness, and I had to learn to be more independent. I had to make my own doll clothes. That opened a door that has led me to one of the greatest of life's pleasures. Mother even let me use her Singer on occasion. I can remember being SO proud of my accomplishments. Although Mother never seemed to notice how beautiful they were, I thought I was hot stuff. I found some of those doll clothes a few years ago, YIKES what was I thinking. I guess they were probably not too bad for a 7 year old girl. Today, the thrill continues. I love to play with fabric, to design with fabric, to sew pieces of fabric together, not even for a specific purpose, but just to enjoy the process and the thrill of the colors.

Fast forward, November 1977, and I have this perfect little baby girl of my own. And so the mother and daughter saga begins the seasonal repeats. Jumping right on, I must tell you that she is now a beautiful, talented, and intelligent young, married woman. No matter that the momma in me shall never forget that precious, sweet babe. This quilt is based on a snapshot from a 1978 July Fourth family picnic. She was struggling to stay awake til the last hurrah. A very serious toddler, strong and independent, always seeming to be so old for her age. I always treasured that picture that her Daddy took. So I was compelled to use it as my first attempt at a quilted portrait of a child.
Oh yes, I cannot end without telling you this. I named my daughter after my sister. Yup, the sister that brought out that green-eyed monster in me. I love her with all my heart, just as I love my daughter. My sister died a few years ago, far too young, of ovarian cancer. She, too, was a strong, independent, beautiful woman, loved by all who ever met her. I encourage all women to be strong and independent and take charge of their lives. Always remember this, "Ovarian cancer whispers, so listen." If you have the slightest feeling that there is something not quite right with your health, demand attention. If you have questions, go to this website and read. Take care of yourself.