I was born an adult in a child’s body. Just ask my mom. After I spent nine months screaming, I learned to talk and was soon was bossing my mom and dad around, interrupting their squirt gun fights to take away the offensive and dangerous toys and stopping the tickling on the bed so my mom wouldn’t get hurt. I came that way.
Some people think it happened when my dad died. But they’re wrong.
I used to think that I was like this because my dad died. And I think that there are a lot of things that might be ever so slightly off after he was so quickly removed from my life when I was seven. Seven is an age of wonder. It’s the cusp of little kid to big kid. It’s when you’re starting to get an idea of what’s really going on in the world. Or I was anyway, at least.
I had two sisters. I was the oldest and the most responsible and possibly also the most dreamy. Though I think my dad may have been the only one to catch that. My mom kept insisting that I needed a hearing test. I just had my head in the clouds. I still do.
My sisters came along when I was almost three and almost seven. Carrie was first. What a treat to have an instant new best friend. I’d practiced taking care of my doll, Kathie, so I was well prepared when she moved into our house. She got her own room when she was very little, but couldn’t keep herself from sleeping with me anyway. I sort of minded but I also liked it. She was my best friend. I loved her from the day she came home.
Molly came a few years later and we were living in Minnesota then. A family of four, the typical 1980’s way, was converted to a full house. Three of a kind, and a pair. I thought it was perfect. Molly was more like my kid than my best friend. I wanted to take care of her from the start, even though I was only six when she was born.
What I didn’t know was that my perfect little family was only to be for an instant in.time. It wasn’t meant to last a lifetime. I don’t know why. I still ask that question. I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like if I had a whole family instead of just me and my sisters and my mom. And I really can’t imagine it. I can’t see my dad. I can’t hear him. I used to be able to. I used to remember his laugh and his voice and the way he was with us. But that all fades with time, no matter how hard you try to make it a permanent imprint. There’s nothing we can do. Maybe that’s so we can’t be sad forever.
What is something is that my littlest sister is about to have a baby girl. She’s the first of the three of us to go through this door. I’m so proud. And excited. Every time Molly passed a life step, it was a big deal to me. Sometimes it really bothered me. I didn’t want her to grow up. She was my little Molly. This time it’s really okay with me.
I didn’t know how I’d feel, but as the date nears, I just want to go home and help my sister with her new baby girl. I’ve dreamt about her. Of course she looked just like Molly as a baby. But she’s not here yet. Maybe she’s waiting until I get back to the states. Like the world revolves around the big sister. (Don’t we all have these issues?)
Regardless, I’ll be home in a day’s time, not in North Dakota, but just a train ride away. And when Molly says the word, I’ll be at her doorstep, waiting to rock her little one and help change the diapers and do whatever I can. After all, I’m the big sister.