I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My First Child

The beautiful girl you see in this photo is none other than my eldest neice, Heather. Her birthday is on the same day as my kids - May 17th. Considering my total adoration of her, I thought I had better write a blog post for her birthday, too...(kids one coming soon.) Stands to reason she's older so she gets the first post!

When Heather came into this world, I had no patience for babies. To be fair I had no interest in them, having had little or nothing to do with them up to that point. At that point, my sister and I didn't have a fabulous relationship - we got along and loved one another, but there was no great connection. I was in high school and she was off getting married and buying housey stuff and having babies - miles away, emotionally, from the life I was leading. So when my sister announced she was pregnant, I remember being happy about it, but not, you know, all that excited.

As her pregnancy progressed, I started to take more interest in it all - in no small part thanks to my sister, who worked really hard to keep me involved. She asked my opinions about names, begged doctors to give her extra ultrasounds so I could come along, and so on. Gradually I think I began to warm to this idea of a kid coming into the world. The night Heather was born, I was at home in my parent's house, watching an episode of Northern Exposure. I don't remember all the details, but the gist of it was that my sister was in labour and we all had to head to the hospital (or something..this is a bit hazy for me.)

I remember seeing Heather in her plastic crib thing at the hospital and thinking, "This is it? This screaming wrinkly thing?" Needless to say I wasn't exactly impressed...but I did give an opinion as to the spelling of her middle name. Poor Heather was born at the start of my hippie phase...so she got saddled with a crazy-spelled middle name (it's Caryn...pronounced "Karen.")

As months wore on, and she grew bigger, this kid managed to worm her way into my heart. I spent more time with her, played with her, babysat her. On Heather I learned how to feed a baby, change a diaper, do up car seat buckles, draw stick figures reliably and read the same Dr Suess book 14 times while making it sound interesting every single time. She was my training ground for the children I would have someday...although to be fair at this point I didn't know that, having no expectation of having children at all. I made loads of mistakes with her, too...once I took her to visit some friends (in Century City) and then drove her home 45-odd minutes (to North Hollywood), having left a full baby bag (with house keys) sitting on the sidewalk outside my friends' house. I waited an hour (with a screaming, starving baby in my arms and no food or keys) before I just chucked her back in the car and went to get the damn bag. She survived.

Unfortunately for Heather and I, I went to college in another state, and then ended up here in Australia. However thorough those formative years, she and I developed what I like to think of as a friendship ... because I adore her, but I'm smart enough not to try and mother her. Her own Mom does a perfectly good job of that. Although I will admit to trying to get in a bit of motherly-type advice (which she'd never listen to if it came from her Mom, but she might listen to if it came from me.) These days we stay in touch the modern way - via the occasional email, my openly spying on her on facebook, a few Skype calls (where we just make stupid faces at one another and laugh), and the like. It isn't enough for me, truly. I wish I could watch her grow up from a hugs-length view rather than the birds-eye view I have now.

That being said, I still feel I know her well. Heather has a smile which lights up a room, a wicked sense of the ridiculous, and a scary amount of brain power. That doesn't mean things come easy to her - on the contrary she works very, very hard to achieve the things she does. As she has gotten older and more and more of her personality has revealed itself, my sister has often commented that she is exactly like I was at that age - which is to say an outspoken, scarily smart kid who can be equal parts fabulous and frustrating. Being like that didn't seem to hurt me too much, so I'm guessing she is going to grow up and be just fine. She'll find her own way, make her own mistakes, and learn her own lessons...and I like to think I'll get to be a part of all that, too.

I love you, Heather Feather. Happy Birthday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love you too! :0) LYAT MYAT!!