Multiples

Another fiction piece written when multiple births due to fertility drugs were in the headlines.

Jenna’s curiosity about family history amused her father. Yesterday it was her amazement that he was the first in his family to visit the moon. Today she wanted to know if his great grandfather fought in the Vietnam War.

“Yes he did, so did his older brother Jake.”

“How many brothers did he have?”

“Well, there was Jake, 2 years older, and Todd, 4 years older and then a younger sister and another brother about 8 years younger…”

“Wait! How come he had brothers all those different ages? Didn’t he have any brothers his age?” Jenna was puzzled. She and her 4 brothers all shared the same birthdate.

“Well Jenna, in those days people had just one child at a time so if they wanted 5 children, the children would be born in different years. Sometimes, there were twins or triplets, but not often.”

“You mean the mother had to be cut open 5 different times?” Jenna paled.

“No, the doctors didn’t cut open the mothers. Babies were usually born through the birth canal.”

“Dad…” Jenna backed off this disgusting thought. After a while, she spoke again, “Doesn’t having a brother 4 years older seem like having another parent? I mean, that wouldn’t seem like a brother. I mean, they wouldn’t be in the same grade at school with you!”

Jenna felt sorry for the people who lived a hundred years ago. They had such barbaric medical practices then. It seemed so sad and so unnatural not to have all your brothers and sisters the same age.