Today is my baby sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday! Even though she’s 35, she will always be my little sister, just as my girls will always be my babies.
She’s just 20 months younger than I am, but dad says that I was a “little mom” as soon as she was born, helping my mom take care of her in any way that I could.
We have an older half-sister and stepsister, but, by and large, it was just the two of us growing up. Our parents split up when we were pretty young, and there’s a lot of our lives that nobody else quite understands. Growing up with our parents living at separate ends of California (that may as well been two different worlds), I think we had a lot of experiences many other kids did not – but we always had each other. There was a time around junior high/high school where we fought. A lot. And my stepmom would tell us, “You’ll grow up to be best friends. Just wait and see.” We would roll our eyes. But she was right.
When I graduated college, she made the drive with me from the Bay Area to North Central Washington, where I had a summer internship. When she and her boyfriend moved to Beirut a year later, I made my first solo trip overseas to visit them at Christmas.
When I was pregnant with Pumpkin, she flew across the country to surprise me for my shower. She came back for a week to help after the baby came, and did the same after Peanut arrived. My girls both adore their Auntie Mena, and it never feels like company when she’s here.
Nearly two weeks ago, she texted around 5 a.m. to tell me her water broke. When Mr. G woke up, I was kind of on edge. “Are you OK?” he said. “Mena’s in labor and it’s all of a sudden very difficult to be 2,000 miles away.” I took the side streets instead of the freeway to work, to make it easy to pull over in case anyone texted or called. (Those big sister/little mom instincts are strong.)
My sweet and beautiful niece arrived later that day. After school, my girls couldn’t wait to FaceTime and talk to her. And now, I’m counting down the days (six!) until it’s my turn to go and help her with her baby, as she helped me with both of mine.