Sometimes you need to eat dirt to help you grow

Being the oldest of 6 girls, I quickly learned how to blaze my own trail. I always wanted an older sibling to help teach me the delicate intricacies of life, but fate had other ideas. Due to divorce, re-marriage and just general life crap, I remained an only child for almost 7 years, until my first baby sister was born. Without hesitation, I put on my Big Sister boots and realized that it would be up to me to fulfill the inspirational role model I always wish I had.

Back then, I hated the situation I was thrown into. But now I realize what a blessing it was to be the first-born. Because I’ve had to figure shit out on my own, I am now a stronger woman, mother and human being than I ever realized I could be.

I’ve always had a very strained relationship with my first baby sissy. As kids, we would fight like dogs and slam each other into walls – ya know, typical sibling shit. As adults, we would be the best of friends, then one of us would say something stupid, verbally slamming each other into walls once again, only a few weeks later to kiss and make up. This would go on for years.

But this was normal, right? We loved to hate each other, then eventually allowed that hate to lead us to forgiveness and eventually back to love again.

In 1999, after a particular long spell of silence, I came home one day to a voice mail message from my sister. She was in trouble, and needed my help. I initially wanted to blow her off, but the sound of her voice worried me. I held back from calling her for a couple hours, but then couldn’t help myself.

It was bad. She was in Rhode Island, pregnant, living with her abusive baby-daddy and wanted to get out of her situation.

Knowing a baby was involved was a total game changer. I shut my mouth and let her talk. I threw away all my suffocated frustrations with her and opened up my heart. Blood is blood, no matter what. Mid-conversation, I knew what needed to happen. An enormous sense of responsibility took over, once again. I wrote down her phone number and promised to call her the next day.

When my then-fiancée came home from work, I dropped a bomb on him. I told him of my sister’s situation and asked if we could possibly open our home to her and her unborn child. Much to my surprise, he said yes.

A couple weeks later, I was at the airport to pick her up. She was safe. The baby was safe. All was good.

Over the next few months, we bonded over shopping for baby supplies, building an impossible crib and attended birthing classes. She asked me to be her birth partner. Of course I said yes. This pregnancy/childbirth world was all new to me. Scary and exciting. But I felt better knowing she wouldn’t be going through it all alone.

The day my nephew was born was life changing. All three of us cried when he came into the world. She saved him. He saved her. And in some silly way, they both saved me.

I call that a pretty successful reunion. Namaste.


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