Besides just the rarity of suffering multiple miscarriages, I’m also weird in another way. I mean, really weird.
You may have (or may not have, I’m unsure how intensely you stalk me) noticed that I have two young siblings. Like, young young siblings. Alessandra was born a few weeks before I turned 21 and Michael was born when I was 24. And as I’m always quick to point out because this makes it even less common, this was no “second marriage, let’s have one of our own” hurrah. They are my 100% biological siblings. (I also have two other siblings who were born when I was 5 and 7 respectively, but they’re not nearly as shocking to bring up. I just felt it appropriate to at least mention them here lest they get offended).Having young siblings is very different from having nieces and nephews. I can say this because I have both. For one thing, when the little ‘uns were born I was still living at home with my parents (well, you know. Moved out and then came back in typical Gen Y fashion). I helped to raise them from the day they came home from the hospital until the day I moved in with Eric a few months before our wedding in 2010. I changed diapers, I shuttled them to and from daycare, I rocked them when they had fevers. My arm muscles got ridiculously toned from constantly hefting car seats everywhere to the point that total strangers would inquire what kind of arm workouts I did (and trust me, they ain’t asking that anymore). They were my quasi-kids. They were my practice (ha, ha!) kids.
This is part of the reason I know I want kids and have zero romanticized notions on what parenting really means. Well, in a way I did have it pretty good just being a sibling. I could always pick and choose which activities I wanted to participate in and could hand the screaming baby back to my mom when I felt like taking a nap. At that point in my life I was still bar-hopping with my friends every weekend, but it’s not like I needed to line up a babysitter in order to go out or anything. It truly was the best of both worlds. I knew then and still know now how blessed I was/am to have them.
I guess I’ve just been thinking what it would be like if they didn’t exist. It goes without saying that I can’t imagine life without them, but it’s deeper than that. I think having them has made this infertility shit slightly easier to handle because I always have a child I can borrow when I’m feeling lonely. In a way it sucks, because I totally know what I’m missing out on. And of course I think of them as being the brightest, sweetest, bestest kids on Earth, so that makes the longing-to-be-a-mother feelings even worse. But then, it’s not like I’m living some incredibly lonely life in a quiet, empty house. At my old job I used to bring them in to company hosted trick or treat on Halloween so I could pretend I was a parent. If I ever need a small hand to hold, I drive the two miles to my parent’s house and find one. It’s not quite like having my own kids, sure. But their hugs and adoration sure do make this interim a lot closer to bearable.And that brings me to the point of this post. Over the weekend I was struck with how old they’re getting, and how mature. The first thing I do when I see Allie is fix her hair. It’s not a conscious thing, it’s more that I always notice her messy, falling out and unbrushed ponytail and feel the immediate need to fix it. It’s not even like she batted me away when I was trying to do it… it’s just that I started thinking about how I can’t keep fixing her hair forever. She’s 8 now and totally idolizes her 11-year-old cousin, not her almost-30-year-old sister. When she’s 15, I seriously doubt she’ll still have that sloppy, careless ponytail like she does now (or if she does, it will be an intentional fashion statement or something).
And don’t even get me started on the frequent debate that my 24-year-old sister and I have about whether or not we should be her bridesmaids. I say yes – we are her sisters, what friend will ever compare? But Ashley argues that we’ll be so old that we’ll ruin the pictures, so she should pick her young, beautiful friends instead. Seriously! I may not have won the genetic lottery with my flat brown hair and undefined chin, but one thing my 50-year-old mom (and by default, as her clone, me) does not have is wrinkles. I plan to still be attractive when that little lady gets married. God-willing, I’ll be a total MILF. And she damn well better put me in her bridal party.I’m way off-topic, aren’t I? So yeah, I kind of hate that they’re growing up. I’m jealous of my sister Ashley who gets to watch them a few days a week and is therefore more involved in their everyday lives. I usually see them at least once a week, and I know I could take a turn with aftercare pick-up, but it’s amazing how much time and energy my DINK existence encompasses. I have a routine at night. I’d rather see them on my own time, which is how it is now, but still, I feel like I’m missing out. In truth, it can never be like it was before because they are no longer infants who depend on me. I miss them being babies. I miss living with them, watching gigantic milestones happen right before my eyes. It’s a void that could be filled with, oh I don’t know… with some babies of my own, perhaps? That would be most excellent.
I’m lucky and I’m grateful that I was given this blessing of siblings, and at an age that I could truly appreciate them. I’m more than a sister, more than an aunt, less than a mom… I’m just Deeda to them. And to them, our unique relationship isn’t all that weird. That’s just how life is. Never quite what you expected.