I was the firstborn to my parents in Los Angeles in the mid-80s. My mom was almost 24 and my dad almost 25. When I was 4 1/2, we moved to Nashville–well, my mom and dad grew up there so I guess they were moving back. My little sister Maddie was on the way as we drove across the country, and I had no idea how different my life was about to be.
Maddie was born in April of 1990 in Nashville. My Grandpa Ronn (who passed in early 2018) took care of me while my parents went to the hospital. He let me sleep in their king size bed and did my hair. In other words, it looked awful, but I'll cut him slack considering I was the first little girl in his life. Grandpa got me dressed in a red striped dressed and bright red tights, which I would only wear for something as special as my first sister's arrival.
Today, my dad is taking care of Maddie's first baby Eli while she's at the hospital awaiting her second baby, and while I'm sitting in the Denver airport waiting (impatiently) for my delayed flight because of all this stupid weather, I am tearing up at the beauty of life, even in the moments of sheer pain and longing.
I don't have children, but I really want to be a mom one day. And being the first kid by 4 1/2 years, I kinda thought I would be there first, just like I was first for everything else. But instead, I got divorced at 30 years old without any babies yet. I'm not wishing I would have had to drag a child through a divorce and all that, but remember, I told you my parents were 23/24. At 30, I was WAY behind in my head. That, and all my cousins had at least two kids by then. No one told me this, ps, I just felt it.
Fast forward to late 2017 (actually probably two years ago exactly), and I'm sitting at my parents' dinner table. I lived with them almost entirely throughout the post-divorce days, but this time was the hardest by far. It had been a year and a half at that point, and I was on the wrong end of a pseudo-relationship. I knew it wasn't going to work out, and it shattered my soul. I thought it had everything to do with me not being what anyone wanted. I was old in my book. Divorced aka damaged. And every single almost lover reinforced it. Anyway, I was in a pleasant mood (I think) when Maddie Facetimed my mom. "Mom, I'm pregnant" was all I heard.
My sister was pregnant! She'd had trouble for a while, and it had taken its toll on her emotionally, so this was a HUGE relief. I was so excited! And then I felt my dad's eyes on me from across the table. I looked up and he half-smiled. It took me a moment to realize I was crying–a lot, actually. He knew my dual feelings right then: pure elation for my little sister, my best friend. Fear and worry for me. I've talked about feeling like I'm the exception to all the rules that other women seemed to have to fall in love, be happy, and for me, have babies. So here it was, all rushing in. At this point, I didn't know I'd meet my future husband in a few months and start on this new journey. At this point, I saw an endless road, full of the same disappointment and the one step forward-two back dance I'd gotten really good at.
It sucker-punched me for a minute or two, but I decided to think about the GREAT news at hand: I was going to be an aunt! Yes this was Maddie's baby news, but I was getting something I'd always wanted to because of it, and I could just sit in that joy for a while. Eli is the cutest little man I ever could have dreamed of. In fact, he looks just like Maddie in that photo above.
So here I sit, waiting and waiting for this damn plane to get here. And I cannot wait to meet this new baby and become an aunt again. One day, I'll get to tell you some personal momma news, but not today. Today is about my new niece or nephew. AND I AM HERE FOR IT!