by Patrick T. Reardon

At Christmas,
there is me.

Then David.
Then Mary Beth.
Then Eileen.
Then Tim.
Then John.
Then Rosemary.
Then Laura.
Then Marie.
Then Kathy.
Then Geri.
Then Teri.
Then Jeanne.
Then Rita.

Every baby is the Baby Jesus.

One Christmas morning sixty years ago,
Mary Beth suddenly grabs
a metal fire truck from my grasp,
leaving me with a short, thin slice of blood on my palm.
Nothing to be done but find, unnoticed,
a Band Aid in the bathroom.

We are the brothers and sisters of Baby Jesus.

God hides,
like a

PHOTO: Patrick T. Reardon (left) at the age of six with his brother David Michael Reardon, five, on Christmas day of 1955, as our mother’s handwritten caption indicates.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We are a family that loves babies at any time of the year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon is the only one of his 13 siblings to have once been an only child.

David Michael Reardon (1951-2015)
by Patrick T. Reardon

You were there, David, with me.
I was there with you.

We were drawn together and pushed apart
by circumstances,
our souls,
our yearnings,
ignorant luck and
fatal choice.

Now you have left without me.
I am left without you.

PHOTO:  David Michael (left) and Patrick T. Reardon in their Christmas PJs in 1955 or 1956.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: David Michael died suddenly on November 21, 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick T. Reardon was born on November 22, 1949. Fourteen months later, his brother David Michael was born. Over the next 18 years, two other brothers and ten sisters were born.