Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Stephen!

Stephen (left) and Mark circa 1965

The youngest of my four brothers was born on October 8, 1964. I remember the day well. Grandma walked into her living room and told all of us that Stephen had arrived. I was so angry at my mother for not providing a sister for me. I vowed I would put ribbons in his hair and dress him like a girl. No one was too worried about the threats of an almost 10 year old girl.

Ours was a busy household over the next few years. Mark and Stephen were collectively called the "Little Boys" and I was their surrogate mother. I was adept a bathing, diapering and feeding the babies. Stephen was only seven years old when I started college and I enjoyed his perception that I was pretty well perfect! (seven year olds are pretty perfect too)

Shortly after I was married, my parents and three younger brothers moved to Mexico. The picture on the left was taken about that time. I am in blue and Stephen is in brown. I missed his adolescence and most of his adulthood. He did stay with us for six months one summer in Canada after he finished high school. So Stephen has remained my baby brother for all these years in spite of his age.

Last year I visited his home in San Pedro, Coahuila, Mexico for the first time. He is very busy in missions work, pastoring a church, providing chaplaincy services at the local prison, running a soccer team and English school, and serving the poor in their community and the neighbouring city of Torreon. Most recently, he is mentoring our daughter who moved there last year. She thinks he is a terrific uncle.

Stephen with his family
Elisa, Timothy, Marcela, Peter and nephew (on right)

Little boys do grow up and Stephen's own family is growing fast too. His three children are fluently bilingual in Spanish and English and are very talented musically and academically. His wife Marcela works hard along with him and is a gifted bundle of energy too.

Stephen and my parents returned from a trip to Chile last week. They travelled widely in their two weeks there and were impressed with the natural beauty of the country. Mom was telling me that the Chilean people call the youngest child in the family "gua gua" which is pronounced "wa wa". The people they visited kept asking if Stephen was her "wa wa".

Happy Birthday "gua gua" Stephen!


  1. Happy birthday to your brother Stephen.

    I am closest with my youngest brother too (but only 5 years separate us). Like Stephen, my brother Philip is a hard worker in addition to being a good father and husband.

  2. Ruth--little brothers are little brothers forever, even though they grow up.
    Or maybe it's that big sisters are big sisters forever, and just can't give up that role.
    Happy Birthday to Stephen.

  3. Happy Birthday little brother!

    I think *gua gua* is the word used for bus in some Spanish-speaking countries.


  4. Happy Birthday Stephen! You have a lovely older sister.

    Great story, Ruth. I'm glad you are still close after being apart for so many years.

    You look great in blue.

  5. An incredible blog - "I was there when it happened and I guess i Ought to know". You were not only my right hand but my left hand and both feet through those difficult years.
    The comment from several people in Chile regarding the tremendous teachings stephen gave in Chile -"Never have we seen anyone with his gifting that is so humble.

    Mexico Mom

  6. Ruth:
    You still are my favourite sister and still are perfect

  7. Ruthie- Siblings who are close in age tend to squabble more I think. I didn't ever pick a fight with Stephen, like I did with my first brother!

    Donna- You speak the truth. The big sister role is likely the most significant...a little taste of mothering.

    Laura- That is funny! Mom said the Chilean Spanish was different from the Mexican dialect. I know there are differences in English usage around the world, particularly in Britain.

    Mary- That picture was taken more than half a lifetime ago. Why does time fly?

    Mom- I helped with the boys because I wanted to. You know I was not as good with chores I disliked, such as cleaning up the kitchen. Stephen is unassuming for sure.

    Stephen- You can keep the tongue in cheek comment about your favourite sister, and I will keep the perfect one ;-) ((hug))


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