I have a sister and her name is Lily Rose, and she is pregnant.
When Mama was pregnant with this sister I was seven. I had an older brother but until then I had been the baby. I don't remember if I was reluctant to relinquish that position, I only remember being excited. I told my friends at school that I was going to be a big sister soon, and that she would be born at home, and that I would get to see.
I'd seen pregnant ladies before, but none so close up and personal as this. I watched my Mama's belly grow to outrageous proportions and I accepted it as the norm. My Mama was my first baby maker teacher and she was a very good one. It did not seem easy to carry this baby. Mama sweated through the hot Florida summer with that belly poking out. She washed herself in cold Wakulla waters, she ate chili dogs, she wrapped herself in magnificent zebra print maternity, and sometimes a scarf flecked with rose and gold tight around her middle, and no it did not seem easy but she made it glamorous.
When my sister came we were allowed to stay home from school. As my Mama labored, walking around the house and deck wearing only amethyst beads and my stepfather's tie-dyed t-shirt, her friends came outside and told us not to be afraid.
My brother and I were not afraid! We had been told all about this! We had been told by our very own Mama! We were busy playing! All day we made everyone wreaths of morning glory to wear in their hair to welcome the baby, and we played our secret made-up games where my brother was the king and I was everyone else.
That is how Lily came into the world, with friends and family all around. I remember there were so many flowers and so many of them were lilies and roses.
Lily was my first baby teacher. I learned how to squish her rubbery little arms into tiny cotton shirts, I learned how to change a cloth diaper and wipe a wee butt. I learned how to walk and walk with her baby bean body until my skinny arms were cheese and I had to pass her off to someone else.
Sometimes I was not the best big sister. She was a force from the moment she was born, a howling tempest with feet that stamped the air and fists raised high in grand protest. I lost my temper. I lost my patience. My mother lost her sleep and her mind. I got off easy.
Here's the deal- we always talk about how difficult she was but what we forget to say is that she did not frighten us off. When Mama got pregnant again three years later I never once thought Oh God here we go again.... I was just as excited for another. As feisty as she was, I loved her furiously. I used to make nests for her on the floor out of blankets and toys all around so that wherever she looked there was something fun. She had a stuffed caterpillar that she called a callipiller and so I called her Lilipiller, and I still do.
Now she is all grown up and the girl who was my first baby teacher is now my second baby maker teacher.
I haven't written about her pregnancy because my Mama has done such a good job at that over at Bless Our Hearts, but I was looking at her today and she looked tired and a little worn and oh so beautiful. I have never seen such a beautiful woman in my life.
She glows, she really does. I watch her belly grow and it is not so much a swelling as it is a blossoming. She was lovely before but now she is opening, like, yes, a rose. When I'm around her I want to touch her, I want to press my face to her skin, rub her under my chin like a buttercup. I want to smell her. She smells like baby.
I never would have guessed that this girl, this baby, would have a baby before me but I am lucky for it. If and when I am so blessed I only hope that I will have one half the grace she does now.
My luv is like a red red rose. She walks in beauty like the night. I have no words, no words to speak of her or of how I love her. I have a sister. Her name is Lily Rose and she is pregnant.