So love. It was bound to come up eventually. Although, I don’t think that up until this point I have spoken about anything else.
I have been asked before, ‘Do you remember the first time you fell in love.’ And my answer is, ‘Yes, vividly.’ It was three days before my third birthday. When my little sister was born. I had waited for her you see. I had anticipated her arrival and I had dreamed of what it would be like to have something small and fragile that I could care for and that maybe one day could look up to me and love me. I think… I was 2, so however a 2 year old thinks.
I don’t remember things clearly. My memories are not clear. They have become faded and misted over time and I don’t have a ‘good memory’ by the normal definition of the phrase. But, I remember how I felt, so clearly. My sister is completely different. She remembers exact happenings. To the last word, thought and laugh.
When my dad and I walked in she was in an incubator. She was so little and it was the middle of winter and she needed something to keep her warm, and safe. And so my first memory of her was looking at her through fingerprinted glass. And there were tubes. I didn’t want to see her like that. I thought there was something wrong with her. There wasn’t anything wrong, she was just too tiny. Of course now I know there seriously is something wrong with her. In that, she uses my clothes and doesn’t return them, she can be selfish and spoilt and oftentimes, if she wasn’t my sister, I probably wouldn’t even like her. She drives me insane and to the verge of alcoholism. But she’s also the most free spirited person I have ever known, and she follows her heart. Traits devoid in my own character and ones I cannot help but admire in hers. On the way home from the hospital that day, the first day she came home, my mom let me hold her. And I remember my mom saying, ‘Be careful, she’s not a dolly.’ But I knew she wasn’t. I knew she was a living, breathing, real thing that needed love and care… and in that moment I decided that that would be MY job. Sitting back in the car, she was wrapped in her little white baby duvet. I was sitting in the back seat, and my mom held her in the front passenger seat. The duvet had slipped and a ray of sun was hitting her face. I remember, so clearly, as if I could retreat back to that moment in time right now as I write this, stretching over and pulling the blanket up to stop that, it was my job now… And I have been shielding her face from the sun ever since.
I know that anyone who has a younger sibling could relate to this story. And ones with only an older brother or sister would not get this… and that’s ok. This is our burden… and our privilege.