13 July 2006

A girl and her sistahs

When Annalivia was born, I immediately felt the urge to find her a little sister. I was sitting in the doctor's waiting room three weeks after she was born telling my mother that I was ready to have the next one and that I hoped it would be a little sister for Annalivia. (Again, the euphoria sustained me through my exhaustion.) Dennis and I talked even then about how it just seems as though our next little girl is just waiting to come into our family. It has never been as though it is a variable whether she will appear. The only variable is when she will appear.
This pregnancy, I am praying for a healthy baby, but I will also confess that I have prayed that this one will be the little sister for Annalivia. This may seem blasphemous to some and I know full-well that if this baby ends up being a little boy, we will look at him when he arrives and talk about how we can't imagine him being anyone else. And we will love him for who he is.
But, having said that, there is something about having three little sisters that leads me to hope for a sister for my daughter. From my sisters I have learned so much about patience, intelligence, forgiveness and healing, imagination, and of course, love. As we grow older, and I am able to see them more as individuals and less as an extension of myself, I find myself continually being taught how to be a better sibling, a better friend, and a better person.
There was a recent article in TIME the week before last about how siblings shape us that got me thinking about this more. It is kind of amazing to me that the idea that we are more shaped by siblings than by our parents and our spouses is a new idea. From the time we were incredibly young, my parents were telling us that the closest people to us would be our siblings. I remember vividly my mother explaining that the Marissa's DNA was a lot closer to mine than hers or Dad's. I remember the "conversation" Dad delivered as Marissa and I trudged up a hill at Governor Dodge State Park, wherein he explained that the relationships with our sisters were the most important we would ever have and that those relationships deserved more respect than we were giving them on that vacation.
And it's true. Every subsequent relationship I've developed has been judged by what I've experienced with my sisters. Can I laugh with this person? Am I comfortable with this person? Can we have intense intellectual discussion? Can we agree to disagree with minimal hostility? Are they appropriately insane?
I want Annalivia to have a barometer like this, but also to have someone who brings her more joy, more love, and yes, more frustration, than she ever will think possible and who, God willing, will accompany her through the various stages of life long after her father and I return Home.
So, though we will be more than happy to welcome a little guy into our family, we look forward to and pray for the day when Annalivia will lead her little sister through the peonies, whispering in her ear, and holding hands, playing games that neither Dennis nor I will fully understand.
Though my guess is that I'll understand at least a little.
I should mention for the benefit of any sistahs reading this blog that the fact that this photo is of Rissy and me is solely due to the fact that I do not have non-akward photos of the rest of us in this house. Sorry, Kali.


Anonymous said...

One must assume from my expression in that picture that I am deeply revelling in the intense bonding of sisterhood so described in your post. Great statement ape - thanks! I love you!


Anonymous said...

As the older of two brothers, I read your posting with brotherly eyes. I have said in recent years that he and I are much closer now than ever. We are so very different, but yet so alike. A wonderous and unique relationship we share. Andre and his lady friend are here this weekend and we just spent the past hour, along with a friend of mine, in the living room over desert telling good stories of our childhood.....and he and I had them rolling. It was good to tell our story. It is good to have a brother to share that story. Thanks April for reminding me.

PS: May I be the first to blog that I would so like to be there when they tell the McStews that BLUE will be their new favorite color. :)