So my big little sister is having a baby. I say big sister, cause she’s older than me. I say little because she’s smaller. Much smaller. Petite. Lovely. Fragile. Like a porcelain doll.
You know, the opposite of me.
And we’re all laughing around here because this woman, this ballet dancer who wears nothing but dresses and high heels and red lipstick, this woman whose wrists are about as big around as spaghetti noodles and who is the epitome of feminine, (you know the opposite of me) is having a boy.
Well, “it” hasn’t popped out yet, so I guess anything can happen, but you know, they are pretty sure…
This is a big deal around here, not only because it’s the first grandkid and it will be funny to see how it all turns out, with the trucks and boogers and snakes and noise and dirt and squirt gun fights that come with boys, but it will also be the first boy to have entered the picture since husband first started driving his Thunderbird out to see me when we were 15.
Anyway, I have been an aunt now for a while to three wonderful little girls, so I know something about what it means. Like candy when they want it and projects that involve glitter and pink and taking them swimming and saving them from their mean uncle who makes them finish all of their macaroni and clean up their crayons. I know a thing or two about giving the kids what they want.
But I have to say, I wasn’t prepared for this: watching my big little sister–the one who forced makeovers upon me, who made me her own personal baby doll (until I was the age of 4 and I started beating her up), who baby-sat me when our parents were out of town and let me have popcorn and Oreos for dinner–preparing to become a mother.
I heard the news eight months ago and smiled, but the reality of this life-changing situation doesn’t kick in until you see her each day, her small graceful frame that treads so softly on this earth slowly taken over by a life. Each day, she glows a little more, each day her belly more swollen and her back arched a bit further, dresses stretched a little more snugly across her torso, until the one sad day when her husband outlaws her high-heals and we all know what happens next…
But she has never looked more beautiful.
And my big little sister has always been beautiful. Seven years my senior, there was this adoration, this mystery, this absolute intrigue that she would exude to me, an Olive Oyle-esc adolescent, all arms, elbows, fuzzy hair and bad t-shirts who wanted nothing more than to wander the hills alone picking berries and singing at the top of my lungs.
I was a wild child. My sister was civilized. I was a bit unkempt. She was polished. I was a tomboy who belched a little too loud and a little too often. My sister was a lady who I was certain had never even farted. I was an earth tone. She was sultry red. I loved dogs. She loved cats. I was a Pippy Longstocking. My sister was Marilyn Monroe.
We were perfect opposites, and even though I ridiculed and tortured every boy that she would bring home and complain when she would take too long in the bathroom, my big little sister never scorned me for my differences. Yes, there was the occasional bribe to let her experiment on me with makeup and eighties hair and she did pay me money to let her shave my gorilla like legs, but I think mom may have been involved in that one (God bless her).
But, she never made fun of my Garth Brooks posters, the 101 Dalmatian sweatshirt I wore until the seventh grade or my earthy, over-the-top poetry. No, she never made me feel ridiculous, she just embraced her quirky sister and took advantage of the fact that I had no problems playing the male role in all of her dance routines that we, unfortunately, captured on video (thanks to the filming capabilities of our much younger sister) …
Yes, I may or may not have donned a fake mustache and suspenders in many a home movie.
And that’s what I’m saying here. Those days don’t really feel so far away do they? I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that we were arguing about whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher? Didn’t she just get after me about tormenting our little sister? Didn’t I just eat the tuna noodle salad she always made for us when she was babysitting? Didn’t she just leave the house for college? Didn’t I just eat a piece of her wedding cake?
I know at 27 I might be too young for this type of nostalgia, but I guess these big moments, you know, the ones that change everything, bring it out of me.
And as we prepare for the little bun’s arrival, and big little sister cooks him a bit longer, and pops is planning ways to steal him away and mom is thinking about how she’s going to dress him, and little sister is vying for babysitting duty, I am standing here, mouth agape, watching helplessly as the world flies by at a thousand miles an hour.
Because I don’t know if I will ever be a mother. I don’t know if I will ever get to worry about what color to paint the nursery or who to choose as Godparents, how to dress the baby for his first Christmas, what sport he will play or if he can make it through his first sleepover. I don’t know these things.
And that’s ok.
But I do know one thing. I know my big sister, the one I used to beat up, the one who borrowed my 101 Dalmatian sweatshirt for “nerd day” at high school, the one who laughs at my stupid jokes and never gets a word in at the dinner table, is going to make all these decisions and more with the grace, style and compassion she has always possessed–just with a bit of spit-up on her dresses and boogers in her hair.
She will be a mother next month.
This I know.
She will be a mom to a little boy and I will bring the fake plastic snakes and squirt guns.
And I couldn’t be happier.
Thanks sister, for letting me splash your preggers self all over this page. And thanks for trusting me to capture this moment.