NO LONGER AN ONLY CHILD

NO LONGER AN ONLY CHILD

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV

No Longer an Only Child

I thought my parents were crazy when they announced over dinner one night that I was going to have a brother or sister in about nine months. Being fifteen years old and in high school, I figured I was out of the woods and free of siblings. Well, that wasn’t the case.

My mom and dad had divorced when I was three years old, and several years later, my mom met a wonderful man named Randy. They got married, we moved out to the country on a hog farm in rural Illinois (yes, I was officially a farmer’s daughter), and things were going fairly smoothly. A week after their wedding, I went to Japan for a study-abroad program, and when I came back a month later, I had a newly decorated room waiting for me. It didn’t take long before I was calling Randy “Dad.” I loved him dearly, and he treated me as if I were his own daughter.

I always considered myself a fairly well-adjusted teenager, and things were going just fine for me. I was an only child and never had to go without anything, so you could say I had it made. About two years later, the big announcement that a baby was on the way left me feeling, well, not really feeling anything. I wasn’t mad, upset or happy; I was just feeling neutral about the situation. I always wanted a little brother or sister, and now I was finally going to get one. However, I was at a point in my life where I was used to not having siblings, had learned to entertain myself, and was perfectly content with being the center of attention at every family function.

The next several months were filled with chaos as we prepared for the new addition to the family. My idea of a new addition would have been a deck and a pool or even a new car for my sixteenth birthday, but I’m referring to the little bundle of nightmare that would soon be living in my house. I knew things were going to change, but I had no idea the emotional roller coaster my mom would be on during this time. One day, Dad drank the last Diet Coke and I thought she was going to kill him, then the next moment she would be the most pleasant person on the planet.

My mom’s two older sisters, Aunt Dorothy and Aunt Lynda, threw her a wonderful baby shower with all the trimmings. To my surprise, I also received presents, including a gift basket with earplugs. My family was very concerned about how I would feel once the baby was born, so they were putting forth extra effort to make me feel loved, and they showered me with attention. All of my friends were excited for me. In a way, I think they were looking forward to me experiencing the aches and pains of being an older sister.

The next few months went by rather quickly, and before I knew it, one summer morning in June my mom was taken to the hospital. I was visiting my Aunt Lynda in Missouri when we got the call that my mom was in labor, so we loaded up the car and drove to Illinois, hoping and praying that we wouldn’t miss the big event. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stepped into the hospital at 12:03 P.M., which was the exact same time my sister, Bekah, was born. I saw my dad coming out of the delivery room, and he was glowing. Everything seemed to be going just fine when all of a sudden they were wheeling my mom in a mad dash to the operating room. She had some complications after the delivery, and what was supposed to be a time of celebration now became a life-or-death waiting game. My first instinct was to hate the baby, since I felt it was all her fault that this happened. I had my mom to myself for fifteen years of my life, and now it looked as if she was going to be taken away from me forever.

As soon as I saw Bekah for the first time, those feelings of hate went away, and I saw her as a helpless being who had no idea what was going on. At first, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. She looked like a raisin with hair and couldn’t do anything. But as I continued to look at her, I could see that we possessed some of the same features, and I started to think about what kind of person she would be five years from now. I imagined all the things we could do together and how much I loved her already.

Everything was touch-and-go for about a week, but my mom pulled through, and soon it was time to go home. Our family was very supportive, and everyone took turns in shifts coming out to our house to make sure we had meals and to help take care of Bekah. My mom was somewhat bedridden because she was still recovering, so it was comforting to have family around.

I look back now, and I find it hard to believe all of this took place about thirteen years ago. My sister and I are very close, and I see her as an extension of myself. I think about the future and how we will be a continual source of support for one another. It’s hard to believe that at one time I dreaded her existence. Now I can’t imagine life without her.

Jessica Wilson

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