Word Press~ DP Challenge
My Earliest Memory~ The Sister
My earliest memory is of myself as a three-year-old child awaiting the arrival of another, the sister. Throughout the lead up to the sister’s arrival, there were comings and goings, blurred images. There were the preparations, piles of snow-white diapers, the rosebud flannelette bedding, soft as bunny ear sleepers, and the wooden crib. There was, the kindly German speaking housekeeper hired to manage the home, when my mother went to the hospital, the one who served the bright pink borscht soup and encouraged me to “eat up, eat up.” There was my father flitting in and out to attend to work and visit with my mother, my uncle’s cheerful, teasing presence and Grandfather Boomba’s, quiet, watchful eyes from afar. Colouring pictures for my mother, waiting patiently for her return, watching the cherry tree from the kitchen window, its limbs bare, stalwart, anticipating winter’s coming storms. Finally, my father arriving home, flushed and excited to share the news, Marge had a baby girl! You have a sister, Grace. Let’s have a cigar, James! A sister. I cannot remember much emotion surrounding the news on my part, rather I believe that I hoped that the sister would play school with me, and allow me to cart her around in a baby doll buggy. A sister. This sister, a fragile, teensy little bit wrapped in a white knit blanket, arrived home on a cold, late fall afternoon, a winter fairy. A sister tucked so snug, her little pink face barely visible from beneath the blanket tightly swaddled around the wee body. The sister with such dark eyes, almost black, centered in a teensy pink face, grub like, she was so fresh to the world, a fascinating fairy child for entertainment. Immediately, I would discover that the sister, fairy child could be quite stormy, heartily screeching out, and dependent of the safety found in my mother’s arms. The sister was establishing and asserting her unfairy like ways into our lives with amazing speed and tenacity. In my young mind, there wasn’t anything magical about this one.
I recall a memory, a moment. Hearing some sounds from the hatchling, I tiptoed into my parent’s bedroom to view the little sprite wriggling in the crib, her little pink fists tightly clenched into balls, limbs jerking, poking up and out from under the blanket that loosely swaddled her limbs. The sister sounded like a restless kitten, mewing and peeping as she struggled to unwind. My mind wondering, what if I just picked her up and carried her to the kitchen, to my mother? I carry Betsy, the plastic wetting doll, I can carry this one. The sister was wiggly so I quickly grasped the writhing body by the legs plucking it from the crib. Upside down, quickly becoming agitated, hysterically frantic by the time I walked the short distance to the kitchen, the sister’s face the colour of beets. Here’s your baby, stated in a rather disgusted tone of voice. My mother leaping from her chair, grabbing the sister and righting her body; the eyes back up toward the ceiling.
This story would resurface in conversations over the years, my mother adding in the part, she held you by the legs upside down almost damn near dropping you on your head! Luckily she didn’t!
The sister would be fine and forgiving with this fact as she quickly learned that had she been dropped on her head, it would pale in comparison to the bumps and crashes she would later experience. The sister is a brave one, far stronger than me. I am grateful for her presence and love. My earliest memory is of a three year old awaiting the arrival of another, the sister.