I was thirteen when she was born; she is fifteen now. My little sister's birth inspired feelings in me that contrasted at every level with my naturally pessimistic personality. I had high hopes for this newborn. I saw possibility in every crease of her hairy, bent-up frame. When I visited the hospital after school got out that day, I sat down wearing a purple paisley shirt, a suede skirt, and blue and white LA Gear sneakers, and I held her.
I wrote her a letter almost a year later.
The day you were brought into the world little sister, was cold and gray, typical January fare. When I woke up that morning--it was the twenty-first, the day I knew you'd be born--I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that that was to be the day. Maybe it was the hushed voices I heard from behind the confines of our parents' bedroom that clued me in to your impending arrival. But I personally think it was more than that. Call it sisterly intuition, call it a psychic premonition. Call it what you will, but let it suffice to say that I knew from the moment I opened my eyes that morning that day was going to be special. All those months of waiting, of enduring mother's exasperating mood swings had come down to this. In just a matter of hours I would be the proud recipient of a little sister. A little sister who was bound to change my life--for better or for worse--from that day forward. Exactly how you were going to change my life, I couldn't and still cannot even venture to guess. But let me assure you that all my doubts disappeared the first time I laid eyes on you.
You were such a beautiful baby! 8 pounds, 4 ounces of cherubic perfection. You were big for a newborn, said Mommy, but you looked awfully small to me. When I first held you, I had to wonder if those little eyes of yours would ever open. But they finally did, and you got your first look at me--your big sister. Scrunching up your face until you resembled an old, wizened tomato, you gave me one last petrified glance before letting out the loudest cry you could muster. It was love at first sight. I decided right then and there that only the best was going to be good enough for my sister.
I can remember the times when you were only a few weeks old that I would try to instill in you early on an appreciation for the finer things in life. Creeping into your room as you began to drift off to sleep, I would pop my favorite Bon Jovi tape into the cassette player and hope that by the process of osmosis, you would begin to develop a taste for it. But you have a mind of your own, I can see that more and more everyday. You, little sis, know what you want and you know how to get it. In the blink of an eye, you can turn on the waterworks, or, just as quickly, flash a smile that is capable of melting just about anyone's heart.
Just yesterday I witnessed you walking for the first time. What a sight it was to see you make that precarious trek towards Mommy, with your chubby little arms outstretched. It was a real landmark, right up there in importance with the loss of your first tooth, your first day at school, your first kiss, your first job...You've got a long line of "firsts" looming ahead of you, little sister, and I can't help but wonder how that life is going to turn out.
A lawyer, a doctor, an actress--I can picture you in any of those positions. You've got a smart head on your shoulders. I can see that now, even though you are not yet a year old. You are a real problem solver, a trait that was revealed once again yesterday when you figured out in a matter of seconds how to make the dangerous descent down the stair in our house that leads from the living room to the kitchen. It may have been only one small step, but as I watched you clutch the railing for dear life and gradually lower yourself from that stair all the way to the floor, it seemed like a momentous maneuver. With that kind of strategy and determination, I think that you will be capable of doing almost anything. Some may say it's too soon to tell, but I know that's not the case. Maybe it is that sisterly intuition coming into play again, or maybe it is just an educated guess. Whatever it is, I'm willing to bet any amount of money that you are going to be someone to be proud of. Someone I will be--and already am--happy to call my sister.
To justify my writing, I will remind you that I was thirteen.
To justify what seems to be the failure of my closing prediction, I will remind you that she is fifteen.