ORIGINALLY WRITTEN SHELLEY PLETT
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” -Robert N. Munsch, Love You Forever
When this all started, I closed the door behind me and paced in small circles for an hour or three, patting a little diapered behind in the middle of the night. There were a few times that I knew you heard us and probably many others I’m not aware of.
You may have spent some nights crying yourself to sleep. I know there were more than a few tears shed in the car on the way to or from somewhere, you staring out the window with clenched teeth, gripping Starlet for dear life, trying to shut out the constant wail streaming from the little intruder sharing the backseat.
Night after sleepless night turned into morning after impatient morning, and at times you were overlooked in the craziness. We didn’t always have the will or the patience to deal with lost shoes or an unridden bike. I bet there were times when you felt you had lost a little of us. Times you felt sad or second best. Times you wanted to yell back.
Because of all this, or in spite of it, you learned to deal.
Your ability to entertain yourself has always served us well. When it was time for your transition from “only child” to “big sister” your integrated independence made it less painful than we expected it to be.
You managed to fulfill that “big helper” label we branded on to you, but still improvised when we didn’t have time to play the games you wanted to play. You bounced through the room to plant quick kisses on your sister’s forehead, and then made yourself scarce when the vacuum ran for hours to calm her when she morphed into colic-girl.
The covers are falling off of your favorite books, your crayons are rubbed down to stumps, and you’ve mastered most of your computer games. Starlet isn’t the only stuffed animal caked with dirty fingerprints and hug residue.
Ever since you were the one in diapers, I knew I had something special. I’m a happily biased parent, of course, because I see things in you that others might not. I’ve taken pride in acknowledging the little changes that happen every day. Then we added one to our equation, and now I realize that I have missed roughly a year’s worth of the details that had been my focus.
It took us awhile to get here. Everything we went through, you went through. When things finally worked out and God gave us another little girl to image you, we celebrated together. It’s more obvious every day just how much of you is in her.
We gave her a big party for her first birthday but that celebration was also meant for you-to commemorate your first birthday as a big sister.
You can’t comprehend just how, but you’ve been an important part of her first year. You may or may not remember most of the experience, but I will.
I know it has sometimes been hard for you to step aside and walk, while I carry her time and time again. One day you’ll understand that I still carry you too, just not with my arms.