Thursday, February 26, 2009
Birthday Time Again
The sound of jingling bells echoed through the halls. Following the sound, I turned a corner. Louder, the bells rang out. Quickly, I raced to the last door and peeked inside. A large woman sat in a chair in the corner. Beside her was a bassinet. The bells rang again and I caught a glimpse of two little white shoes kicking up above the edge of the bed.
That was the first day I met my sister. I was four years old and she was about two months old. And those jingling bells were tied to the laces on her shoes so every time she kicked, they rang.
Shortly after adopting me in 1971, our parents applied for a second adoption. It took over three years for them to get the call about my sister. During the initial meeting at the adoption agency, the social worker asked me if I wanted a brother or sister and I chose a sister. Growing up in a family in which my dark hair stood out like a sore thumb, I longed to have a sibling who resembled me. So I also told the woman that I wanted my sister to look just like me. She assured me that our new baby would have dark hair and big brown eyes just like her big sister.
That day, I left the office thrilled that soon we would have a new baby. My excitement grew ten-fold by the time she arrived. And there was an added element of excitement when I found out that her birthday was the day after mine. How cool would that be?
This weekend marks the 34th time that I have shared my birthday with my "little" sister. Four years my junior, much smaller in stature and nearly my polar opposite, Denise will always be my little sister. And every year, I remember that first meeting.
Slowly, I approached the bassinet and pulled myself up on the side. Looking over the top, I sized her up. Falling back on my heels, I turned to my mom. "This isn't our baby, Mom," I said. My parents laughed and reassured me. Up on my tip toes again, I reached in and touched the baby. The baby with the fire red hair and big blue eyes was indeed our baby, and, my sister.