The Birthday

The Birthday

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul

The Birthday

As I sat in the chair by the window and felt the warm June sunshine on my arm, I had to remind myself where I was. It was hard to believe that behind the nicely finished oak cabinets hid various medical equipment, and that in a moment’s notice the ceiling tiles could be removed to reveal surgical lights. Except for the few instruments and the IV cart next to the bed, it barely looked like a hospital room. While looking at the carefully selected wallpaper and furnishings, I remembered back to that day, not so long before, when this adventure first began.

It was a crisp October day. Our field hockey team had just won a 2-1 victory over Saratoga. I dropped, exhausted but excited, into the passenger side of our car. While leaving the school my mother mentioned that she had gone to the doctor that day. “For what?” I asked, becoming nervous as I ran through all the ailments my mother could possible have.

“Well . . .” She hesitated and my worry increased. “I’m pregnant.”

“You’re what?” I exclaimed.

“Pregnant,” she repeated.

I was speechless to say the least. I sat in the car and all I could think was that these things do not happen to your parents when you are a sophomore in high school. Then the realization that I was going to have to share my mother hit me. The mother who had been all my own for 16 years. I was overcome with resentment and confusion over a tiny person nesting inside my mom. I had never wanted my mother to have another child after she remarried. This was a selfish feeling, but when it came to my mom, I was reluctant to share the smallest bit of her.

When I saw the shock and joy in my stepfather’s eyes when he was told of the impending arrival of his first child, I could not help but feel excited. I could hardly wait to tell everyone and my joy showed on the outside. On the inside, though, I was trying to deal with my fear and anger.

My parents involved me in all the preparations, from decorating the nursery to picking out names to going to Lamaze classes and deciding that I could be present for the baby’s birth. But despite all the excitement and happiness this pregnancy brought, it was hard to hear my friends and relatives constantly talk about the new baby. I feared that I would be pushed back into the woodwork when the baby came. Sometimes when I was alone, all the resentment for what this child was going to take from me would overcome the joy.

Sitting in the delivery room that June 17, knowing that the baby would soon be here, I began to feel all my insecurities surface. What was my life going to be like? Would it be one endless baby-sitting job? What would I have to give up? Most important, would I lose my mother? The time to ponder and worry was rapidly melting away. The baby was coming.

It was the most incredible experience of my life, being in the delivery room that day, for birth is truly a miracle. When the doctor announced that it was a girl, I cried. I had a baby sister.

All my fears and insecurities have passed now, with the help of a warm and understanding family. I cannot explain how special it is to have a tiny person who waits with me every morning until my ride to school comes and then, as Mom holds her in the window, waves her little hand good-bye. It is so wonderful to come home and not even have a chance to take off my coat before she is tugging at me to come play with her.

I realize now that there is plenty of love in my home for Emma. My resentment for what I thought she would take away had been erased with the realization that she took away nothing and instead brought so much to my life. I never thought I could love a baby this much, and I would not trade the joy I get from being her big sister for anything.

Melissa Esposito

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