Saturdays are a flurry of soccer games this time of year and little Miss Mary is content to traipse from game to game slurping Gatorade, begging for donuts, romping on the various playgrounds and shaking her little pink pompoms as she cheers for the boys. She hauls a little pink purse to every game equipped with lip gloss, a few toys and a list of her brother’s names(in case she forgets how to spell them mid-cheer).

Hansie played the last game of the day and Mary set up camp under the shade of a friend’s umbrella. These friends have two girls, ages 4 and 8, and Mary was soon splayed on the quilt with them admiring their polly pockets, lil ponies and vast collection of costume jewelry. Pompoms and cheers were abandoned as she drank in this world of little-girldom. I watched Mary’s eyes light up as they talked about fairies and dollies and “which princess do you like best?” and my eyes started to well over when the eight year old spontaneously hugged her little sister.

Flipping open my cell phone I called my friend Julie. Julie is pregnant with her 4th and since we have similar, death-march pregnancies, she calls me nearly every day to warn, “Don’t do this to yourself! It’s miserable.”

She’d just thrown up in Old Navy. It wasn’t pretty (I’m pretty sure Erik slips her a $20 every time she tells me something like that).

I cut to the chase. “Tell me honestly,” I pleaded, “how much do you miss having a sister?”

We talked for a while and Julie told me all the benefits of growing up with five brothers. She knew how to throw a ball, they steered her away from lame boyfriends, her brothers now give great marital advice. “Occasionally I wish I had a sister,” she admitted, “but look, I have you and other friends. We women are great at creating sisters everywhere we go.”

Ah, it’s so true. We are good at opening our hearts to each other aren’t we? We create sisterhoods at soccer games, sitting in the dentist office, across the back fence and over the internet. A list of my true sisters would take all night to type.

From the beginning I believed Mary was the luckiest little girl in the entire world. If she’d been born first I would have made her my babysitter/slave. But as the baby of the house she gets to enjoy her reign as princess. And while the boys don’t exactly dote over her(Mary is SO not the doting/doted upon? type) they play with her, teach her and place her back in bed when she falls out at night.

And really who could ask for a cuter bunch of brothers?

But I thank you, my friends, for raising your girls to be sisters to my Mary. She’s going to need you. I need you.

September 29, 2008
October 2, 2008



  1. Katie

    September 30, 2008

    Having the same situation- and coming from a family of one brother and six girls… I have thought about this a lot. I,too, feel like my daughter is sooo.. lucky to have older brothers who adore her and who will teach her all about boy etc.. I think she is so lucky- and I even think if I had another child- I would want it to be a boy. Coming from a family of girls- she gets her mother all to herself! What more could a girl want?

  2. Melissa

    September 30, 2008

    Your stories are so sweet.

    Ethan told me the other day, looking up from the princess coloring book he “borrowed” from Paige, that his favorite princess is Paige! Such sweetness. 🙂

  3. Christie

    September 30, 2008

    I grew up with four brothers, and thought I wanted sisters until I went to college and lived with girls. Then? I was a little bit glad I only had brothers. But truly, I feel that my friends are my sisters, only better, because I get to pick them.

  4. duchess

    September 30, 2008

    Absolutely love that picture.
    She’s a very blessed little girl!

  5. Brooke

    September 30, 2008

    this sort of reminds me of sister beck’s “relief society will be your mother” idea.

    sisters and mothers are to be found in all places. mary is so lucky to have five older brothers. heck, i have two older brothers and feel lucky!

  6. Denise

    October 1, 2008

    Daniel and I talk about this — well okay, I talk about this to Daniel, a lot. I worry that John will be somehow maligned not having a brother. I suggest that we should have a brother for him, and Daniel always reminds me that just like we were unable to determine the gender of our children in the past, we are still unable to determine genders of future children. Plus, what makes a perfect family? Yours seems pretty happy as it is, and I know mine is. Why, oh why is the grass always greener over there?

  7. Blue

    October 2, 2008

    we always seem to want what we think is missing, don’t we? both my kids wish they had a sister (bunch) and brother (gator)…and they’d be nothing but thrilled to have to share their rooms and change diapers etc. but they’re relegated to life with surrogate sisters (bunch) and brothers (gator). i’m sure that their loving father in heaven will put some wonderful ones in their paths. and maybe they’ll both get to marry into families with terrific sisters and brothers in law.

    my sisters are dear, but as we have limited contact time, it’s my friends who fill the role. friends like you. thanks!

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