I spent the first seven years of my life as an only child. With being the only kid among a sea of adults there is an unusual sense of loneliness that is echoed by all the school friends’ relationships with their siblings. There was an unspoken connection between my friends and their siblings that I noticed even at the young age of six.
My frustration had been mounting for months until one day it exploded when my mother picked me up from school. We were walking to the van after the final bell rang and the jealousy I felt boiled to the top of my limit. I stopped in front of the van, slammed my hand on the hood, and pointed a prophetic index finger at my mother. “I’m going to PRAY that you have a baby so I can have a little sister to play with!”
Of course at that time I was unaware that my mother had been told that she wouldn’t be able to have any more kids. They were even surprised that I had come around.
A few months later I was sitting in the bathtub, probably painting my chin with bubbles and “ho-ho-ing” like Santa clause. That was one of my favorite bath time past-times in those days. Mom came in the bathroom and sat on the toilet next to the tub, very serious, and asked for my full attention.
“Hannah, what do you want more than anything in this world?”
“Um…a drum set, a bunk bed, and a Jeep Power Wheels.”
“A baby brother or sister?”
“Hannah, Mommy has a baby in her tummy. You’re going to have a baby brother or sister!”
I screamed and dramatically fell backwards into the bathwater as if I had fainted, splashing water everywhere. I was elated!
“But you want to hear something even better? There’s not just one baby in my tummy; There’s two!”
“TWINS?!” I fake fainted again.
We found out they were girls and every day for the rest of her pregnancy, I asked my mom if today would be the day my sisters would come.
January 28th, 1994 I woke up and found my grandparents in the living room. This was incredibly odd since they lived in Louisiana and I had no pre-knowledge of them coming to visit. My parents weren’t in their bed room, and when I asked where mom and dad were MawMaw told me, nonchalantly, that they wen’t to the hospital to have my sisters. “WHAT?! They’re coming today?”
I wanted to go to the hospital immediately but had to wait until dad called to tell them to bring me once the girls arrived. They let me choose one of the babies’ names and I chose Abigail. Mom took me to see Once Upon a Forrest while she was pregnant and when I heard the character’s name, Abigail, I leaned over to her and whispered, “That’s what I want to name the baby.” I spoke to my dad before I was able to ride to the hospital and they were still trying to figure out what to name the other baby. He asked, “Do you like the name Rebekah?” I loved it.
From the moment they were born, I was a proud big sister. There was never any jealousy, only a maternal instinct to love them and show them everything my 7 year-old self had learned in my short life. It was a shock though when they were born because it never processed with me that they wouldn’t come out of the womb as active six year olds that I could wrestle. They were delicate and breakable and I had to handle them with care. Mom and dad wouldn’t let me hold them without sitting down with a pillow under my arm. But I would sneak in their room while they were sleeping and pick them up and hold them to prove to mom, dad, and myself that I could take care of something so fragile. And I loved the way they smelled.
We were best friends growing up. We fought, we laughed, we ganged up on our parents, we tattled on each other, we played pranks on one another, we snuggled, we did everything together. I drove them to school and picked them up. I helped them with their homework, gave them baths, and wiped their little hineys until they could do it themselves. Some mornings I would wake up and find them in my bed with me. Looking back, there’s nothing that melts my heart more. They looked up to me and I wanted to be the best big sister.
I made mistakes. I yelled at them for no reason. I pushed them around when I was angry. When I got older I would lock myself in my room to do homework, chat with girlfriends, and play on the internet. They would bang on my door and beg to come in just to say “I love you” and I would shoo them away. While I had maternal instincts with both of my sisters, I was still their sibling and we still had a sibling relationship.
Now, we are in a different phase of life. I’m married and have been away from home for almost four years. I’ve been absent for a majority of their teenage years. They have become individuals with their own personalities, opinions, outlook, and dreams and sometimes I have to remind myself of that they are not babies any more. There is still that maternal instinct that wants to love them and take care of them and share my experience with them so they will have some direction on how to navigate life.
Today they are turning 18. This is so big to me because at times I feel like they are still the 10 year olds who would come to me for everything. But they are independent, beautiful women who are ready to conquer the world. I pray for them daily. I pray that they will find what they want to do with their lives and achieve those goals with every bit of favor and grace that is given to them. I pray that they will find and know what pure, unselfish love is and spend their lives in a happy marriage with the spouse that was made specifically for them. I pray that they can come to me when they need love, support, or advice and that I say the exact words that they need to hear and be the love that they need at that moment. I pray that they know unconditional love. I pray that they will have the strength do what’s right when everyone is doing wrong. I pray that they will stand up for themselves if they are getting walked on. I pray that their faith is strong. I pray that they draw close to the Lord when life is going both bad and good. I pray that they are happy and live a life that they are proud of.
Happy birthday, Abby and Boo.
I prayed for a sister and God blessed me with two.
Your big sister loves you more than you know.