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Leaning Into My Masculine As A Means Of Survival

Did you see the 1968 film, Yours, Mine and Ours, with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda? If so, then you will have a pretty accurate image of my family, except we were a family of 11, not 20. I was the second to youngest and invariably got lost through the cracks of chaos. It's no wonder since my younger sister was born within months of our parents getting married, and everyone was trying to find their own place in this newly joined tribe of the Read/Willets family.

It was no one’s fault that I was “squeezed out” similar to “Philip” in the film, who was constantly forgotten. Looking back today I marvel at how well my parents did managing our brood. I have so many treasured memories and so much gratitude for my parent’s vision and courage bringing us together, and raising us all with an unshakable love.

And, I had my own story within this larger story. When my little sister was born she was diagnosed with Down syndrome and needed lots of...

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