The first time it happened I was three years old, almost four. My mom rushed to the hospital with my dad, and I slept over my grandma’s house. The second time, I was seven. My parents left in the middle of the night, and my grandma came to look after my sister and me. The third time, I was thirteen. It was different, yet the same. They left, and I woke up to my grandma making us breakfast.
The fourth time, I was eighteen. My dad gently woke me whispering, “We’re going, it’s time.” Next thing I know, I’m tumbling out of bed, making breakfast for four and starting the car. My younger sisters are way more excited then I am. They scream, they laugh, they can’t stop running around the house. Victoria keeps asking, “Can we go now?” I’m trying to get things done; clean the kitchen, make the beds, pack some lunch. Maybe it’s because this has happened so many times before. Maybe it’s because I don’t like change. Maybe it’s because I’m older.
Wow, Victoria is going to be a big sister. She’s done being the baby of the family. I’m not going to have three little girls to look after; I’m going to have three little girls and a little brother too. I say little girls, but they’re not all that little anymore. Virginia is fifteen. She’s going to get her driving permit soon. Where has the time gone? I’m an adult, about to become an older sister yet again.
When my mom told me she was pregnant, I was everything but thrilled. It was a balmy Sunday morning in mid May, and we had just gotten back from Church. The sun was shining bright and the flowers in our garden were blossoming. I could hear the birds chirping, and the leaves danced in the warm breeze. I knew spring had come and was here to stay this time. We walked inside the garage door and, as we were taking our shoes off, I noticed my parents oddly whispering to each other. I knew something was up. They told Virginia and I to go upstairs; they needed to tell us something. I would’ve been worried if it wasn’t for their giddy grins and unusual giggling. We walked upstairs and, the second they shut the door behind them, I knew. I was aware of the drill. Virginia jumped ecstatically. I stood there processing the news. She rushed to hug my mom proudly. I stood there processing the news. She started asking a million questions. I stood there processing the news.
Nine months later, the news has been processed. That news is about to become a reality. It’s December 24th. Tomorrow is Christmas. Tonight we’re supposed to have our big Christmas Eve dinner. I guess plans change.
“Let’s go!” I scream from the car. I put the hospital’s address in my phone and drive away. The hospital is unexpectedly welcoming. It’s a colony of beautiful white buildings surrounded by gardens and people. There is life everywhere and, for a second, I feel excited. We walk in and are led upstairs. Victoria reluctantly holds my hand, trying to run away. I don’t let her. Virginia and Veronica follow behind. The second floor is quiet, almost empty. The silence is peaceful and serene. I like it. I feel the love, happiness and tranquility around me. A hint of excitement and impatience overcomes me once again. My heart beats faster. My breathing is heavier. A smile creeps on my lips. I glance at Victoria and peek through the door.
My mom lies on the bed, her head resting on the pillow and her charcoal black hair tied back. Her face is exhausted. Her eyes light up as she sees us, but she barely moves. I haven’t seen her this happy in a while. Beside her bed, my dad sits in a small red chair. His long body curved over what he holds.
Ryan. A tiny creature rests on his forearms. Its eyes are closed, its few hairs blonde. Its porcelain skin is perfect. That’s my brother. I take him, and I hold him. I stare at him for way too long. Boy, was I stupid. This tiny person is a light that chose to shine on us. He is a part of me; he is my family. Just like that I realize that I don’t care about the diapers I’m going to have to change, about the cries I’m going to have to hear, about the things I’m going to have to share, because how lucky can one be, to experience the blossoming of a flower for a fourth time.