It was the most exciting day of my life up to that point. The last day of school, our Grandma was going to pick us up, and my Mom and Dad were at the hospital getting ready to have our baby! The anticipation was growing as the day went on. I didn’t know yet whether we were going to get a boy or girl. The school day finished, and I hurried outside to meet Grammy. There she was, sitting in her blue convertible Volkswagen bug, with the top down! It was a sunny day. She had her sunglasses on and she was smiling. I felt love and excitement seeing Grammy. She told us it was going to be a while before going to the hospital, so we should go home and get something to eat. I knew what I wanted to do. Show Grammy my new trick! Mom had taught me how to make Top Ramen on the stove, and Grammy said she didn’t know how to do that. When we got home, I showed her and she was so impressed. I felt very proud. I was hoping this was a sign that I was responsible enough to help out with the baby. I was finding my place in the family. I could make food for the family, just like in the Babysitter’s Club books or a Laura Ingalls Wilder story. After eating our Top Ramen, we headed to the hospital.
I didn’t really know what to expect when we got to the hospital. What surprised me was this: We turned the corner to the waiting room to find an elder of the church and his wife sitting there in the waiting room. Why were they there? I felt nervous. Was he going to yell at us? I was afraid. My brother liked to run, climb, and jump. He got up to check out the snack machine. I told him to come back and sit down. He wanted to get the baby something from the gift shop, Grammy told us to wait. I wanted to go see the gift shop too, but I didn’t want to ask, I would get in trouble cause Grammy had already said no. I did my best to keep Brother in his chair, but he wouldn’t do it. The elder and his wife just sat there watching us. Not talking to each other, Grammy, or us.
It felt like days went by, but it was only about an hour. Then we saw the nurse come around the corner with what looked like a crib with a light over it. Grammy said that meant the baby was close! We heard a soft cry from behind the door. I forgot all about my worries and I was so happy! I was impatient. Did I have a brother or a sister? After a few minutes the nurse came out and said that visitors could go in. Grammy, Brother, and I couldn’t go in yet though, the elders had to go in first. I’m going to be brutally honest, that pissed me off. That was my family in there. I didn’t even know who these people were, and they got to meet my baby before I did. But my fear of getting in trouble outweighed my want to throw a fit. So I shoved it down. Today was a happy day. Grammy said “we will see the baby in a few minutes”. Grammy is the kindest person in the whole world. I did not want to upset her.
Another long wait, and the elders came out. Finally our turn to see the baby! I stepped through the doorway, and all troubles disappeared. Mom was in the bed, Dad next to her, holding my baby sister. I was so happy to have a sister. She was what I had always wanted. I wanted to examine her visually before holding her. She was much pinker than I had expected. She had dark hair, with a few white streaks. The nurse said she thought they were feathers at first. Now how would a newborn baby have feathers? I couldn’t focus on that question. I was in awe of my sister. A little a miracle. Dad asked me if I wanted to hold her. Yes, I did. I sat down and he placed her in my arms. She was so soft, and fragile. I was glad she was wrapped up tight in a pink blanket. That made it easier to hold on to her. I could have stared at her for eternity. Her face was all squished up, but peaceful. She was the best baby in the whole entire world. The most wonderful thing I had seen in my entire (ten year old) life. I was in love. I don’t remember much from the rest of the day. We must have gone to the gift shop, because a pink bear and flowers appeared. We must have gone home and gone to bed. But I felt like I was on a cloud. I had memorized my sister’s beauty and that was all I could see. I went to bed saying her name in my head, it was the name that I had picked, and Mom and Dad had decided it was perfect for her.
The next day, I woke up early and ready to go see my sister! Grammy said we had to wait for visiting hours to start. That was ok, Grammy was my favorite person. I felt so special around her. I could wait since Grammy told me to. When we did get to the hospital, the M pastor and his wife were already there. Why did they get there first? This was getting frustrating. I felt violated. This was a precious moment in our family. They were walking out of the room when we arrived. I was glad they were leaving. I couldn’t wait to hold my sister again. We walked in the room. Mom and Dad were happy, but their smiles were not that of total happiness. We had been there for a few minutes when they told me the news. They weren’t going to name the baby the name I had picked, they were going to name the baby the same name as the M pastor’s wife. A seed of bitterness was planted inside my heart. Is that why they visited? To tell Mom and Dad what to name the baby? I was upset. I really loved the name I picked, and felt a special bond with my sister knowing she had that name. Dad didn’t like that I was upset. He said that they were the parents and they got to pick. I did not voice my feeling that the pastor had told them what to do. I didn’t really know how to say that. I was looking forward to Mom and Dad and Sister coming home from the hospital so we could be a family that was all together and safe.
2 thoughts on “Feathers in her hair- 1993”
Erica! This is so wonderful! I love how you write!!!
I need to reassured you though, they did not tell us what to name Linda. Yes they were intimidating scared people, I’m so sorry your joy was dampened by them, I’m sooooo glad you had Grammy Jan with you. She really is the best person in the whole world! But I named Linda Linda because she looked like a Linda to me and not like a Sandra. But she was NOT named after the other L. I love you!
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Thank you 🙂
Love you too