No, not yet. This isn’t THE post. But any day now. Or any minute. And I think I’m ready. I wince as I say that because they sound like famous last words.
My To Do list has gotten a bit shorter. I have my Babywise in hand. The miscellany catch-all basket with breast pump and burp cloths is next to my bed. A freshly laundered blanket and bumper handmade by my mom is tucked into the cradle Grandpa made for my little sister years ago. Now bring on the chaos.
A little sister. I wonder if Evyn understands what’s about to happen. If only she could get as excited as I am about the gift she’s about to receive. Her little sister. No one else can say that. I’ve been trying to prepare her. We’ve read baby sister books, including this charming one by Tomie dePaola that I bought from a library sale. And when we visited the pumpkin patch I helped her pick out Big Sister and Little Sister.
She knows there’s a baby in the tummy. She knows the term "little sister." But I guess the rest she’ll just have to experience and discover for herself. The sharing. The fighting and hair-pulling and arguing for space in the bathroom. The loving and hating and and jealousy and protectiveness.
Like all relationships, I know theirs will be unique – different than what I shared with Lora. But I hope in some ways its the same. I hope theirs is a refuge. A sense of belonging to each other like they belong to no one else, and a comfort that someone else is in the same boat when things get hectic around here.
This summer we found a picture of Lora in a bright, tacky frame that only Lora herself would have picked out. A hot pink vinyl flower shape that made me smile. She was in her high school cap and gown. Exactly one year before she died. Evyn made the same mistake everyone else does when they see Lora’s picture. "It’s Mommy!" she said. I explained it was her Aunt Lora. And that "mommy had a little sister once, too." Which made me choke to say. I used to wince when I heard those words – little sister. It was painful to run across them in gift shops and book stores and even sometimes in conversation when friends would relate their own sister stories. But over the last few months, I’ve quit wincing and started embracing those words for the serendipitous little miracle they are about to become. I love hearing E.’s three-year-old voice tell everyone "little sister" is in her mommy’s tummy with such pride. I know that pride myself.
Eighteen years was short by my economy, but long enough in God’s measurement. And though I’m sure being a sister doesn’t make me an expert at raising sisters, I have eighteen years of memories in my heart’s bank to share and draw from. That’s a pretty cool blessing. Lora would think so, too.