Saturday, January 2, 2010

happy birthday, sheila claire

my little sister turns forty today.* it's hard to believe that nearly 40 years have passed since the day i tiptoed into my mother's bedroom and peered inside the white bassinet at the foot of my mother's bed, to see a white bundle with a lot of curly black hair on one end tucked inside. i fell instantly in love.

if only the years leading up to that moment had been equally so easy.

on that cold january afternoon, we were three years into what i have always thought of as the Great War, the divide that slices my childhood neatly into two halves: the Time Before, and the Time During. it was a nasty, angry war fought not between my parents, but between my mother and my grandmother, marked by long periods of frosty distance through which i was mostly the messenger and the pawn. it could've made me a lot meaner than i am.

but it didn't.

in large part, it was due to the fact that sheila's timing was perfect. i've always liked babies, but to be presented by one, having reached the age where i knew i would be trusted to help care for it was like being handed an amazing gift. i remember thinking as i gazed at the squishy white bundle that it was never going to matter - not to me, at least - if we had different fathers, if our last names were different.

she's never been half of anything in my mind.

because of my little sister, i learned very early that Good Things can come from even the most painful of circumstances.

so happy birthday, sheila claire... thank you for shining your beautiful light in my life for forty whole years... from the nannybelle who loved you at first sight.

and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.

*this post is a day late because of a migraine brought on by the weather!

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