Koala and Bebe,
You know, I have this memory from when my second brother (your local uncle) was born. I was six months younger than you, Koala. I don’t remember much about my mama being pregnant – I’m sure you will though – but I do remember the mixed feelings at having my grandparents over, my mom far away, the fact that it was a boy and I had wanted a girl…
The story goes like this: your uncle and I decided we would – in true Staten Island parlance – ‘take care of’ this baby when my parents would come home from the hospital. We were dressed in our ninja/warrior gear. I remember us hiding in the den, pacing along the top of the couch, waiting. Finally our grandmother called to us that mom and dad and baby were home, come see! I remember reluctantly jumping off the couch to greet them.
Needless to say, your younger uncle is still around and it’s definitely been worth nearly three decades of holding off on the weaponry.
Koala. When we first got pregnant this time, before we told anyone, you had this thing where you started feeling my belly and became more affectionate in general… After four years of squirming out of hugs or defining cuddles as, here, I sat in your arms for a sec, now let me go! it seemed like you couldn’t get enough.
It was weird and mysterious… like somehow you knew there was something up. Maybe you just wanted to have a baby like a lot of your friends. Maybe it was some feature of your age. Maybe kids really have a sixth sense about these things.
You’ve been an amazing big brother to Bebe – just the right mix of protective and annoying. You’re a teacher and a student to your sister. A comedian and a paramedic. A roommate and a conspirer. So when the new baby comes along, I know you’ll wiggle over and make room. Lovingly. Protectively. Curiously. And… unarmed (this week’s Purim costume-aside).
Bebe. You’ve grown a lot in the nine months I’ve had to consider how much you’re going to seem so grown the moment you become a big sister. In the days after you were born, you shared with me a habit of yours which I’ve assumed predates your birth. As you snuggled up on me that first day, you’d take your tiny fingers and lightly pinch my neck. It’s something you still do – to yourself, to me, to people with whom you feel safe.
We laugh about it a lot… but there’s just something so touching in the way you show your physical affection. You take my hand suddenly. Put your arm around my shoulder. Pat my belly and whisper to the baby.
Morning bed cuddles are your coffee. You’re generous with your kisses. You’ve always been armed with affection. It might get a little bit rough, B, but you’re going to grow into a wonderful big sister. You’ve had it in you since you were born.
It’s been a gift watching two siblings grow together, laugh together, love together. You guys have been, in some ways, a natural, inherent unit.
I’m happy we were able to give you this time together.
I’m happy that now we all get to start something new.