My sister was born when I was five, and our immediate family and close relatives went to the maternity ward—me, my brother, my grandparents, and probably my aunt and uncle. (My dad had probably gotten there before us, or had left us in the waiting area, to go to the delivery room with Mom.) The only thing I remember of that whole hospital visit is this. I was standing outside of the nursery room—you know, where they put the newborn babies for visitors to look at through the big window in the wall. My paternal grandfather came up next to me and pointed out my newborn baby sister, Katie. A nurse had just put her in the front row of cribs, right up near the window. My grandfather told me, “There’s your baby sister. She’s the prettiest baby in the whole nursery. That’s why they put her up front: they put the cutest babies in the front and the ugly ones in the back.”
He said this out loud, where probably numerous relatives of the babies in the back could hear him. He didn’t care, he was just being himself, trying to pull one over on his five-year-old grandson. And the thing is, of course I believed him! I probably believed him until I was in my teenage years! Not that I thought about that statement and examined its likelihood often, but I totally believed for years that they put Katie in the front row because she was so cute. I’m so glad I retained this of all things from my trip to the maternity ward, because I am lucky to have such a neat and funny episode in my past and because I will never get tired of telling this story to anyone who meets me, my sister, or my family.