As the school term ended Mom turned down the request to teach grammar classes again the next year. I was a little sad that she wouldn't be back but I knew she would be extra busy once the baby came.
Summer passed swiftly with a lot of work that needed to be done, our garden was even bigger than the previous year, customers to our store were increasing steadily and there were baby clothes that needed to be made.
When school started I was amazed at how relaxing it seemed to be in the eighth grade and not have to worry about LV since he had graduated. Everything was in a comfortable routine and I was enjoying school more than I ever had before. I did wish I could be at home to cuddle our new baby once it arrived.
A few days before Christmas we were once again awakened early and sent to Grandpa Masts. I was excited knowing that finally after waiting for so long I would be getting my baby sister. Mom and Daddy had told me if it's a girl I would be allowed to choose the name. I already had it picked out and was looking forward to announcing it. There was a pile of pink blankets and sleepers waiting to welcome her.
When we came home from school Mom was in her bed waiting to show us the new baby. As we stood around the bed she handed the baby to me and said. "Say hello to Ivan." I held him and wondered how it's possible a newborn could be that ugly. Not only was he red and wrinkly but on his forehead there was an ugly birthmark.
I immediately knew it was my fault Ivan had a birthmark because I had talked about the accident Mom had at school when we had been playing baseball. Once the boys had gone back to the shop with Daddy I told Mom I was sorry that I caused the birthmark. She assured me it wasn't my fault. I asked if it always leaves a birthmark when a mother gets hurt before the baby is born. She said it doesn't always happen that way but it can. The birthmark on Aunt Emma's arm came from Grandma spilling some boiling water on her arm before Emma had been born. One of my friends was blind in her one eye because her mother had panicked and over reacted when a rooster had pecked her son's eye.
Thankfully Ivan's birthmark faded and by the time he was several months old there was only a faint mark there and with time even that disappeared.