Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sixteen Years

Sixteen years ago today I missed a day of the third grade.  Why would I remember that grade school truancy?  Because it was the day my little sister was born.  The sibling I'd asked my parents for...and I always got what I wanted (I was an only child!)

Unlike today, with its 60 degree weather, January 31 1996 was freezing cold.  One of the coldest days of the year.  But after deciding that there was not going to be another February birthday in the family (me, my dad, and my grandpa are all February babies), my mom decided that today was the day...and started moving some furniture around to get things going.  And we spent the rest of the day at the hospital, awaiting the arrival of our baby boy...What?!  Yes, somehow during her pregnancy, charts got switched or misread and we were told my sister was going to be a boy.  We had a boy baby shower, we painted the nursery blue, and bought little boy onesies.  I bought her a Winnie-the-pooh outfit to wear on the way home from the hospital.  My parents picked out William Stephen for the name.

And at 4:30 in the afternoon, my aunt and I were waiting in the hall and heard that someone had just had a baby girl and then my dad came out of the delivery room and told me to come meet my baby sister.  She was bright-faced and had a beautiful head of dark brown hair.  For some reason, the doctor let me, an eight-year-old, cut her umbilical cord.  From that moment on, she was my baby too.

My dad and I went out for dinner and came up with the name Madeline Rose.  The next day was so cold I remember my dad driving up onto the sidewalk in front of the hospital so that the trip between the door and the car would be shorter.  I was talking about this with him last night and he said we went home and built a big fire in the fireplace and turned up the thermostat to 75 degrees.

Everyone likes to tease me that I "raised Madeline" because, as a child, I did like to believe that I did the majority of the diaper changing and bottle feeding.  And I really can't help being the bossy, older sister most of the time.

She probably doesn't think I'm as cool as she used to.  And she has almost an inch on my height.  And she's had more boyfriends than me (ok, I only had one, and I married him).  But she'll always be my little sister.  She stubbornly independent, extremely intelligent, artistic, and a beautiful young woman with a mind of her own.  Even when we're both grown-ups I'll always remember her running out of the elementary school to give me a hug when I picked her up and the way she called me Nitney when she couldn't say Whitney.

Happy Sweet Sixteen Moo!  Love always, Sissy.

Maddy on a canoe trip last fall.  warrior paint with mud...



  1. my younger sister has had more boyfriends than me too. don't even want to think about my youngest sister who is only 10...

  2. haha, that must be the way with younger sisters! Maybe our parents weren't as strict about boys by the time they came along...

  3. Such a nice note Whitney...I wrote on her wall and had to restrain myself not to write Happy Birthday Mooey! Haha. I remember babysitting with her and picking her up from her babysitters when we were in high school. Seems like not that long ago!