Birth Order 2

Birth Order 2


Elizabeth and Anderson were born 7 years and 4 days apart yet Elizabeth is a Vergo, born on the exact same day as my grandmother, Mary Hunter Deans Hackney and Anderson is a Libra. Vergos are punctual, keen analytical thinkers, reserved and will help anyone. Libras are known to be social, comfortable in group settings and are creative and imaginative, especially in how they dress. I didn't believe in the Zodiac signs before reading these blips but I'm going to have to rethink that position in light of how well they described my children. For my daughter's 28th and 35th birthdays, before I get older and start forgetting the details, I'm going to jot down some of my memories of the days they were born so they're saved for posterity (...stop me any time and say, "You're not old! You're not getting forgetful!" but I'm not hearing anything....) So Happy Birthday to the two people who, along with their mother, make me a better person than I might have otherwise been and have made the last 36 years incredibly fun, joyful, very expensive and better than I could have ever imagined.

The Second One First - Anderson (with her husband Campbell Brown)

On September 27th, 1988, Elizabeth was ready for school when her carpool pulled up in front of our house. She shot out of the front door as fast as she could to share her good news, yelling excitedly, "I have a little sister! I have a little sister!" with her 7 year old arms and legs flying in every direction as she ran out to the van to tell her friends that her sister had been born the day before. The large van door was already opened and everyone was smiling from the packed vehicle, yelling their congratulations and asking the baby's name. Just as she reached the van she made a U-turn and started running back to the house yelling just as excitedly, "What's her name?! What's her name?!" "Anderson" I replied, with a big smile on my face, knowing it was a big name for a 7 year old to remember.

It was an even bigger name for the tiny 8 pound baby who was just born the day before but from that day until this one my grandmother's family surname suited our second daughter perfectly. My grandmother, Louise Anderson Bridgers, was an important person in my life and I wanted to name my daughter for her. At the time she was a very healthy 80 years old and while she had just lost her husband two weeks before, she lived another 18 years to watch her great grand-daughter and namesake grow up. Anderson's birth was a wonderful counterbalance to an otherwise sad time in her life. My sister was also named for our grandmother and little did we know that Anderson would grow up sharing my sister's name and that the two of them would also look very much the same and share the very same outgoing, sunny personality. To this day, people constantly comment on how much Anderson and Lou look alike and share some of the same personality traits. Genetics are amazing and in our family seem to go over one and down (Susan's brother, Bill, has a daughter, Dowling, who looks exactly like Susan).

On the day Anderson was born Susan and I didn't want to wait until the last minute to go to the hospital like we had with Elizabeth because of irregular contractions, so we called Mom and Dad once they were somewhat normal (the contractions....somewhat normal parents I never had). At 5am they came over to stay with Elizabeth at our house, but as was typical with them, they had their own plans in mind and decided to go back home without mentioning their change of plans before arriving. So while they waited in the car in the driveway, with Susan in labor, we hustled around, packed Elizabeth's lunch box, threw together a suitcase, woke Elizabeth and sent her on her way so they could drive back to their Watson Drive house to sleep for a few hours before taking Elizabeth to school. I may have called Mom's sister, Mary Lou, the more maternal of the two sisters (an understatement if there ever was one), to go check on Elizabeth while we were at the hospital. Knowing my mother, Elizabeth may have skipped school that day and had a beauty day-who knows?

As it turned out we didn't need to be in a hurry as Anderson wasn't born until the early to mid afternoon. Wide eyed and happy from the moment she came into the world, Anderson is much the same today as she was from her first minute on earth....happy, easy going and curious about the world. Oh yeah-and a shopper-although that wasn't 100% clear at birth although I've wondered if there was a Chanel pocketbook with a Platinum AMEX card in it when we left the hospital because she's always been so comfortable with a credit card she must have been born with one in her hands. Anderson has the simplest of tastes-only the best will do and she's never been to a store or visited a web site where she couldn't find a "bargain" (loosely defined) or something she wanted (a/k/a needed) to buy. Anderson has impeccable taste, and she loves to shop just like her aunt Lou, her grandmother Anne and her great grandmother Lou before her and it's always been that way. What always has been, still is and probably always will be, which sounds a little bit like a prayer of some kind and it probably is - the Anne Hackney Prayer of Bergdoff Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bonwit Teller - stores my mother loved and I heard of often when I was a child -- a time when most people had never heard or knew little of these great New York stores. In the end I'm afraid Anderson's love of shopping is a strong genetic trait from my side of the family and I apologize to Campbell ----- if one has to apologize for genetics.

As with her sister, it was love at first sight when Anderson was born and so it continues to this day with both of my daughters. Elizabeth is a little more like her King family with a dash of Hackney and Bridgers thrown in but Anderson is like her Hackney family (especially Lou) with a dash of King thrown in (but not much of a dash....this one is mostly Hackney). She married Campbell Brown, the son of old friends of ours and the grandson of old friends of my parents so that's been fun to watch and interesting in the same way that the Hackney and King families have always been connected as it might have been fun for our parents to watch Susan and me make our lives together.

You know how it is with second children. The details of the day Anderson was born are fuzzy. We already had a child, life was full and we both had busy careers and things were happening. Life was moving at a fast pace and I can't remember all the details of the day but Anderson fit right into our world without any fuss and without any problems. I do remember a video of Susan and I coming home with the baby, taken by Susan's mother who couldn't control the huge video camera that were typical of that time (so huge you often had to rest it on your shoulder to control it), and we had a lovely video of the walkway and our feet but very little footage of Anderson and us walking into the house. I hope we can find that VHS tape some day because it was funny although it was probably accidently recorded over by a My Little Pony show or a Strawberry Shortcake cartoon.

Life continued and moved forward quickly and as I've watched it all unfold I can't help but feel so much pride, a lot of joy and tremendous gratitude. And of course much love.

But the beat goes on.

And the First One Second - Elizabeth (with her husband, Joe Davies and children, Page and Alex)

Seven years before, on September 22, 1981, Elizabeth made Susan and me parents and very young parents at that, which I didn't fully understand until my own children reached the age of 24 and I with a kid?! Wow. It's hard to believe 35 years later she's given us a wonderful son in law and two beautiful grandchildren and a lot of great years together. But at that time, we hardly knew what to do. Anderson was born to parents who were seasoned and had it all figured out (kinda) but Elizabeth was born to parents who thought they had it figured out but in reality we were just a little more than kids ourselves. Thankfully we were quick learners and our parenting style, flawed as it may have been, produced two great people so I'll let it speak for itself (although I just threw in a 5 second self promo ad).

But I still remember that cool September day when she came into the world. I remember Susan's request for a banana milkshake from The Creamery to get her through the "Braxton Hicks contractions" (Elizabeth still loves a banana milkshake to this day), the nurse at the clinic telling us (several times-emphatically) not to come in because the contractions weren't regular, a repaired bed being delivered in the middle of all of this confusion and asking the two guys if they could please set it up since I thought my wife was in labor in the bedroom (which they did in record time because they did believe she was in labor and were afraid they'd be stuck helping with hot water and twine if they stayed a second too long), my conversation with the clinic at noon to tell them either Susan was in labor or dying a slow and painful death in our bedroom. Finally going to the clinic at 1pm once everyone returned from lunch and finding out we had to immediately go to the hospital because Susan was so dialated the baby would be born soon (and lots of apologizies from the clinic nurse who almost caused us to have a home birth).

Labor and Delivery Nurse Renu told me to stop joking around because having a baby was serious business (which was not news to me-the guy who'd been at home alone with a suffering wife for many, many hours). In spite of me, Elizabeth was born just a a few short hours later but not before I ate the Snickers bar from the Labor and Delivery bag and was told to "never ever breath your Snickers breath in my face while I'm in labor again!" Sheesh....some people have no sense of humor and it would take 7 more years to get the chance to try since Anderson is 7 years and 4 days younger than Elizabeth. Do I even need to add that it was love at first sight with both of my children? Susan's mother, Frances, arrived at the hospital just in time to meet her 3rd grandchild, just a few minutes old, as she was moved from the Delivery Room to the Nursery. It's all still so fresh in my mind as if it all happened yesterday. At least I think this is the way it all happened. Maybe not? It's hard to believe that on September 22nd, 2016, my daughter Elizabeth, turns 35. Where have all those years gone?

Actually, I can look all around me and see exactly where.


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