I was five years old when my little sister was born. I was at an age where only the big things stick with you as a memory moving forward, and her arrival was one of those big things.
I remember the talks my family had about what we were going to name her if she was a girl or a boy. I remember my opinions on the choices. I remember my mom and her big belly at Christmastime.
And while I don’t remember visiting her in the hospital, I do remember bringing her home and wondering why she couldn’t sleep in my bed with me. So, I wholeheartedly offered her my tattered and beloved blankie to sleep with on her first night in her crib, feeling a little relieved when my parents declined my offer.
I wasn’t so certain I could sleep without it. But I was willing to try.
For that tiny new human who would now be living in my house, I would try.
It’s funny to think that my little sister arriving in this world, chubby and with what the nurse would describe as “a critical look” was one of my first memories.
And now that I think of it, even with the space of years between us, there aren’t many big and meaningful life moments that didn’t include her tagging along, or right there beside me or on the other end of the phone line.
When she arrived, a little sister myself, I was too young to understand what she might come to mean to me.
And now the young woman who once called me to ask how to boil an egg, who wept harder than me at the arrival of our daughter and who makes it a point to see her niece at least once every week, preferably on Sunday when she can have her all to herself, well, she’s going to be a mother herself.
I can finally tell you. I have permission. Because given all that she’s seen me go through on my long and heartbreaking journey to motherhood, my poor little sister unfortunately had to inherit the knowledge that when it comes to building a family, it doesn’t always go as planned.
And while there are perks of taking notes from the hard lessons your older siblings face, that warning wasn’t one I wanted to pass on to her.
Because some days I swear she’s still six years old and I’m eleven and I’m building her a fort on the other side of the creek with a tin can telephone strung from my post to hers so that if she needed me she could call.
And she’s always calling. That’s what I love about her. She’s better at things like sticking close and staying in touch. When she’s in your life she’s wholeheartedly there.
And while I lament about our childhood — three girls growing up in this wild and magical place — certain that those were the good ‘ol days, I can’t help but think that I might soon find out otherwise.
Because sharing in the common crazy, magical, sleep deprived chaos that is motherhood, raising our daughters together out here on the backs of horses, listening for the sound of their voices calling to one another across that same creek where we strung that old piece of twine, might take the place of the best years of our lives.
Yes. She’s having a girl.
And when I heard the news a little pang of hope that held its breath inside my chest finally let loose its air.
Because there’s no certainty in knowing if we’ll be able to have or welcome another child into our home, but from the moment I met my daughter, I wished for her a little sister.
And now, come June, it looks like she’s going to have one.
Just don’t make any bets on Edie sharing her blankie…