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Finding harmony with three sisters

April 5, 2013


How do you decide how many children to have? Many families settle on two, some leave it at one, and we—well I’ll be honest. We really were going for a boy so after having two daughters, we went for the third child.

And ended up with three daughters. Three sisters. It’s a marvelous number, although there are times when I wouldn’t have minded having four.  But when there are three, it always makes life more interesting.

My father and mother likewise had three girls, and tried one more time and got their boy. Dad always said it was because he started eating sunflower seeds that he finally got a boy. Did not work for us.

But growing up with two other playmates of your own gender is not a bad way to grow up. A boy and a girl are supposed to be the perfect family configuration but you take the cards you are dealt, right? And if today we had any other configuration: 2 boys, 1 girl; 2 girls, 1 boy; three boys; two girls, one boy; one girl—yada yada yada, I would be writing about what a nice family configuration it turned out to be.

They were and are good girls—now young adult women—and they too treasure their childhood. They recall many hours of creative, inventive play, where they made up their own games and play acting.


Who needs kites on a windy day when you can just use plastic grocery bags? Or scramble higher than the boys climbing trees at church?

But the story that inspired this post is this 1988 picture of the kids diving into one of those fast food ball pits after hurriedly chowing down a burger and fries.


A few years after this photo, when the oldest had grown too tall to actually get into the pit (she was probably barely getting by in this picture), the youngest one was getting bullied by another kid in the pit—lightly pummeled with balls, that kind of thing. We were inside the restaurant and didn’t really see what was going on. But Michelle was standing by and did see. She sauntered over, unfolding her long lean body straight and tall, probably all five feet of her young self. The bully boy stammered upon seeing Big Sister standing by: “uh … er … I didn’t know you had a sister THAT big!” And that was the end of that small annoyance.

I loved it then and love it still.


Top: They had to try out new the new toy/book shelves. Middle: Three fit nicely in the new Christmas wagon. Bottom: And even making dorky tourist photos is more fun with three.


Of course they had their fights, their jealousies, their annoyances. All three rode the same bus, #51, only one year to their elementary school. Bottom: Leaning in to hurricane force gales near Kitty Hawk, NC.


Hanging Christmas stockings is more fun with three. T-shirts found at the Shipshe Flea Market. All grown up at middle sister’s wedding, 2011. Wedding photo courtesy of Richard Davis. (Note how many of my photos have the daughters in the same oldest, middle, youngest sequence.)

So what’s the best size of family and gender mix? I’m glad we didn’t have the chance to choose gender. It’s nice to leave that in All Knowing hands, to Whom we are most grateful.


Did you know the gender of your kids before they were born? Would you want to know? Why or why not?

Also check out one family’s extensive photo collection of four daughters and how they recreated dozens of childhood photos as adults.


From → Faith, Family Life

  1. Pert Shetler permalink

    Great pictures!! What a threesome…I love them all.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it — and enjoyed them ever since they were small. I remember how much you enjoyed rocking the babies too. 🙂

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