You have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Hardly surprising. I was just three when mom brought you home. For 34 years you have been the one constant. As kids, you were my shadow. Even though I bemoaned you “breathing on me.” As we grew up, we fought like cat and dog, but we always made up. There were times when I screamed that I hated you. Times when we drove each other to tears. We certainly haven’t always agreed. But I always knew you would be in my corner when push came to shove.
For much of the time growing up, it was just us two. Our mother described us as chalk and cheese. Totally dissimilar in every way. However, whether we were jumping on the bed, planning our future business empire or trying to figure out how to get out of trouble, we were always in it together. I thought of you as an extension of myself. I figured I knew you inside and out. How wrong I was.
Eight months ago we went for our routine manicures. Afterwards, you sat me down in your living room and told me you were going to have a baby. To be strictly accurate, you gifted me a mug with the word Auntie on it, and watched as I struggled to connect the dots. I couldn’t process it. I had always known you would have kids someday and I had no doubt you would be an incredible mother but, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. My baby sister was having a baby.
In the weeks and months that followed, I watched you embark on an amazing adventure. It was an absolute privilege to be allowed to be on the periphery as your life was changing in such a profound way. At each stage of your pregnancy you were presented with new challenges. It was a strange dichotomy. One half of me wanted to be able to do it for you. To take the pain and uncertainty away, even for a little while. The other half was blown away by how strong and capable you were. How unflinching. To put it simply, I was in awe.
Don’t get me wrong, we still had a few sharp words and disagreements. It’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime after all. But it was wonderful to see you so full of passion and purpose as the new life grew inside you.
In time we found out that you would be having a baby girl. That was the icing on the cake for me. (At last I would have an outlet for my Hello Kitty obsession.) Of course, you knew I wouldn’t have minded either way. I really just wanted you both safe and healthy. However, I appreciate you thinking pink none the less.
As your due date approached, we were all full of anxiety. I still couldn’t really believe that you would actually be having a baby soon. We all eagerly awaited your daughter’s arrival, and if our impatience made you feel pressurised, I am truly sorry. With everything you were going through, you never flaked on our project and as much as it must have been a giant hassle you kept me in the loop every step of the way.
I made the decision long ago not to have children of my own. I almost feel like there was an unspoken agreement between us. You unselfishly allowed me to be as involved as I could be. Knowing it would be the closest thing to a baby of my own. I will be forever grateful to you for that. Even when you went into labour, you went out of your way to keep me in the loop. I needn’t have worried about being the last to know.
When at last Amelia was born, she changed all our lives forever. I was given the privilege of being among the very first to meet her. I would not be surprised if I am being referred to as Arwen the usurper in some circles. As I held her the first time, I felt such as rush of love for her. So much love can only be accommodated by growing a new heart. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for you.
Your daughter is incredible. Perfect in every way and strong like her mother. It’s amazing to watch her little personality begin to come through. No words will ever be able to describe how proud I am of you and of her. Our little tribe has a new member. My dearest wish for her is that she always feels as loved as she is.
Be well xxx