Monday’s Child

Enjoy last year’s birthday post for Ellen, mother of the blog. Happy 29th!

When we were little McGirls we used to have fun dissecting that childhood rhyme about the day of the week you were born on and what characteristics you had because of it. Jane was born on a Wednesday (full of woe!) and I was born on a Thursday (which mysteriously meant I had “far to go” — what the what?) But Ellen was lucky. Ellen was born on a Monday — and Monday’s child is “fair of face.”
I always grudgingly thought that was appropriate for Ellen, because she is the fairest of us all: the only natural blondie in the bunch. And of course, she is a pretty good-looking girl.
But the quote I like best about Ellen comes from our McDad, who has a way with words, being a writer. When Ellen graduated from the homeschool program she attended in high school, there was a ceremony for all the graduates at which the parents got to stand up and affirm their child. I’m not going to lie, this went on for quite a while and most of the speeches, while heartfelt, were longwinded and meandering and didn’t hold much appeal for the total stranger in the crowd. But I was very proud of my dad when he got up to speak. It was short and sweet, and I’ve never forgotten how it started.
He began with a pithy bio of Ellen, which I paraphrase: “Ellen is the middle child of seven children, with several years between her and the child on either side. Because of this, Ellen has been the baby, the middle child, and the oldest; which means she has spent years in turn being doted on, picked on, and counted on. And you can count on Ellen.”
He went on to describe the ways in which Ellen had become really reliable, and listening to him, I had to agree. I had noticed the same change in my shy little sister after coming home from college and finding her working in Price Chopper, where she was clearly a fixture and a favorite, and I marveled at her command — she was so confident and in charge! And of course, Dad always reminds all of us of how much better she was at driving from day one. She was the only one who knew which was the gas and which was the brake, and the only one who had paid any attention to where things were and could navigate her own way around. (I remember even when she was very little she knew how to get to the mall and the rest of us were totally lost, which caused a rare outburst from our Grandpa Ross when we squabbled about it in the car.)
Ellen’s dependability carried on to college, where she was and RA, and afterwards, as a preschool teacher. I can see by her interactions with my own kids what a great teacher she made. She has patience and innate authority at the same time, and little kids really respond to that.
And now — well, you all know who started this blog, right? And who keeps it going for the most part. We all depend on Ellen, and she comes through. Happy Birthday, Monday’s Child!

Ellen McSister

Ellen McSister




8 thoughts on “Monday’s Child

  1. Almost 10 years later, Dad's words still make me tear up. And your updating of Ellen's bio is right on. Thanks for the great post, Rose. And happy, happy birthday to our Ellen.

  2. Awwww, Thank you so much, Rose! This is really sweet. I'll have to print this out and keep it with my copy of Dad's speech.

    This just made me realize something… Wasn't Joanie born on Tuesday? Full of grace? That one really fits!

  3. That poem was depicted in cartoon form in Mrs. Lawson's kitchen. Whenever I hear it, I smell sulfur water.

    None of that has to do with Ellen, though. She is a lovely girl through and through. Happy birthday, Ellen!

  4. Ellen – Rose said it even better than I could have. And I love that "fair of face" photo!
    Now give yourself a treat: before you go to bed, make Dave and SK leave the room, sit next to a boom box, and put on a Monkees tape. “Listen to the band"! Happy birthday!

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