I was nine years old when she was born. The wait for her arrival was very exciting. Having been an only child for so many years I just couldn’t wait to have a little person to have of my own. Little did I know. Little did I know she would be stolen from my life long before I would be ready to give her up.
My mother was a hippie at heart. She wanted me to be with her through everything, to share the experience good and bad with her. We were always together through thick and thin. The truth was that we only really had each other. People come and go but the one constant I had in my life was my mom. I was her everything and I knew it. The responsibility of being the child adult was something I welcomed. I loved being consulted on everything – I felt important and listened too. Without me mom could not survive. Thats how it is for a child, we are the center of our own universe and everyone elses untill we are taught otherwise.
Time marches onward and we made it through a marriage, dating, marriage, domestic violence, hiding, dating, marriage and now a new family member to care for and love. I write that we made it through because that is how it feels – I was there through everything the good, bad, scary and ugly. So with that short and sweet introduction I can’t wait to tell you about my sister.
Mom and the daddy didn’t want to know the sex of the child. That was fine with me, I had already decided it was to be a little brother! I had two younger male cousins that I met off and on and I loved them completely. My little brother would of course be just like them. Awesome! They let me boss them around, they admired me and followed me everywhere – all good things in my eyes! In fact we were told at one of the sonograms that they believed it was two babies hiding in moms tummy! Ha, two brothers I had won the lottery. I even had names all picked out!
Chad and Brandon. The names were like candy in my mouth. I was in love with these boys in my fourth grade class. They were best friends and since I couldn’t have them both as my boyfriends I would keep their names forever close to my heart. Fairly clever thinking for a nine-year old if I do say so my self!
The due date came and went and still no baby. Mom waited. I waited on pins and needles. And the baby daddy waited too. But while he waited he had an affair with moms best friend. Bad timing I thought, even then I knew this was not a good sign. Finally the water breaks, and with it the dam. Life changed again for me and mom, and now I had a little sister to pull through the business of life with us.
A sister. Well, I wasn’t sure what I felt at first. Actually I was permitted to be at the birth I had participated in all the lamaze classes, coached mom with her breathing and helped pack her hospital bag. She screamed a lot more than the women in the practice films so I started to fell very ill the last 40 minutes of her labour. I had to escape the room so I left to go to the bathroom. As soon as I left the screaming stopped. I peeked back in and there was a little blueish baby being held up for mom to see before they whisked her away for washing, footprints, blood tests and all the other essentials right after birth. Mom was getting stitches so I snuck out again.
It seemed like ages but they came back with my sister. She was small. Skinny. Lots of red spots all over her face. And she had a smell, a weird smell I still remember it today.
I held her. Inspected her. And she got the sign of approval. The daddy inspected her too, then gave her back to me.
“You’re a big sister now, your moms going to need your help!” he said.
This was empowering. I felt the lioness within me rise to the occasion. This little person was mine. Mine! I would do it, be the big helper, the big sister, the leader. I should have known there was much more weight to those words. A weight I didn’t yet understand as it found its place on my shoulders. Then he snuck out of the room to call his girlfriend and tell her the happy news. They must have had a date after that because I didn’t see him for a couple of days. Who cares? I was at grandma’s house, with mom and little sister.
I was totally consumed with my new role. Get a diaper, water for mom, another diaper, check the baby, comfort mom, comfort baby. Grandma was working daytime – that was fine too. She said I could play in her high heels while she was gone if I walked carefully and put everything back when I was done. You don’t have to tell me two-time to clean up after myself and you don’t have to tell me twice I can play in high heels! It was heaven. But the storm clouds were building on the horizon. How could I have known? Although, I had seen these storm clouds rip through my life several times before I didn’t recognize them. I was still only nine.
We went home to our house. Our house quickly became an unhappy home. Poor little sister, born right into the storm. A force of nature that would follow her all the days of her life. If you knew what I know now, you would be crying.
I can share with you that I am crying right now.