One of my earliest memories as a child was my mother hanging out with one of our friends, or maybe it was my cousin. That part I don’t remember, but I do remember a ring dangling on a chain. I know I was old enough to ask what it was, and I remember the explanation.
The “Ring Test”, of you don’t know, is one of those old wive’s tale methods of determining the gender of (usually unborn) babies. You take your left and and place it flat, then use the dangling ring to trace the outline of the hand, and then let it hang above the resting hand. Usually, because it’s been moving, it will keep swinging for a little bit. If it swings back and forth in a straight line, the baby is supposed to be a girl, if it swings in a circle, the baby is supposed to be a boy. Then you let the ring down to touch the hand, and raise it back up, and see if it swings again. You do this until the ring doesn’t swing when you lift it. This is supposed to tell you how many children you are going to have, and what their gender is supposed to be.
After explaining this to me, my cousin (I’m going to assume it was my cousin, as that makes the most sense) traced the ring around my mom’s hand, and then lifted it. It swung back and forth in a straight line. She touched the ring to her hand and lifted, again, back and forth. She did this a total of four times, before, on the fifth time, it swung in a circle. Then it stopped.
I am an only child. At least on my mom’s side of things. Mom made some sort of joke about me being her fifth try or something like that, I don’t remember what. She obviously put little stock in such things. And I suppose I should say I don’t think much of it either. But being young, I actually thought, for a bit, that I really was my mom’s fifth kid. And I remember how disappointed I had felt that I hadn’t been a girl, too.