I remember my sister’s birth. I remember her pale skin, her silky hair, her small eyes that acted as a window between my mother and God. It is all still so fresh. The iridescent lights of the hospital will never be forgotten, nor will I be able to erase the taste of hospital food from my tongue, and even more so I will never rid the overwhelming fear that surrounded me that day. “Hold your sister” my mother forced the words out of her tired lips, only after I had sanitized my hands and sat in a chair a safe distance away from her.
I held my sister cautiously. I looked at her and instantly became scared. I wanted to retreat, to push her back into my mother somehow. I wanted to go back to our small, two-family house in Milwaukee. I wanted to sit with my mother, just the two of us, and watch reruns of Maury. Anything would be better than this. My brother stood some distance away. He seemed oblivious to the danger we were both facing. Did he not see the grenade lying gently in my hands. How could he not hear the obnoxious ticking of a bomb? This was the end for us both. Our last moments together, just me and him, had vanished, disappeared forever.
Still, he stood there calm while I was having a silent panic attack. My face must have been all telling, because my mom began to get aggravated. “Fix your face” she demanded. I tried to look less angry, less afraid, but I couldn’t shake those feelings.
Before my sister’s birth, life wasn’t a fairytale. Spoiled would never be a word used to describe my brother and I. My mother didn’t bathe us with affection. She didn’t read us bedtime stories or professed her love to us on our way to school every morning. None of these things were apart of my reality, but still, I felt a connection to my mother. I felt a love that although seemed weak, was somewhat comforting. I had always felt that her limited supply of love was not evenly distributed between my brother and I, but now it would be split three ways. As I sat there, holding my sister for the first time I begin to prepare myself for life now. My five-year-old brain started to add up the hours in a day, then subtract the time I spent in school, along with the hours dedicated to eating, and my forced sleeping schedule. At the end, I had calculated that I would have zero time to spend with my mother.
A few months past before everything went back to normal, or as close to normal as possible. Alexis, my sister was growing fast and strong. I eventually found what my mother had first witnessed in here precious brown eyes. There was hope in her innocence, joy in her laughter, and beauty in her presence. It turns out I didn’t lose my mother. Instead, we became closer than ever. It’s funny now to look back on that day. I was once filled with so much fear. And now, thirteen years later couldn’t imagine a world without my sister.