Your sister was there from the moment I saw that second faint line. I willed it to show; so much so I took four more tests that day.
I hadn’t let my mind forget the gut-wrenching strength it took for me to bring you into this world before her, for the guilt to heal from the trials of breastfeeding, or even for my body to heal and move back into the spaces they belonged.
I decided in spite of this, I wanted the space between you to be small.
I would laugh it off to people who would ask me if I was a sucker for punishment and reply that I was ripping it off like a Band-Aid. Really, I was so grateful—but also scared . . . scared about what this would now mean for us. You and me.
When you were four months old, she was already growing inside of me and I hadn’t realized it, but I was already asking you to grow up.
When I was heavily pregnant with her, you needed me so much. I was so big and so tired, sometimes the feelings would rise so quickly from my chest I didn’t have time to hide them from you as they poured from my eyes.
You needed me in your core and my core was already being divided.
It was harder than I ever imagined.
When she arrived, it felt like her place was always in my arms, that every heartbeat before her was one more away from them beating together, skin to skin.
But I missed you and longed for you, sometimes just you. I couldn’t understand what I was feeling, what it meant.
As the days bled into weeks, I would ache with uncertainty as to whether I was giving enough to you both. I lost myself in all my giving. I gave it all but still felt the need to give a little more.
I would lie awake when I should be sleeping, the earth spinning closer to daylight and my mind spinning with it. Wondering how to be present with you both, feeling full of apologies.
There was so much I didn’t prepare for with you both so close in age, so much I could never have anticipated.
But most of all, I had never anticipated your bond. I wished for it, but I didn’t know how complete it would make me to see it.
The first time your eyes shone when I brought her out in the morning. The first time you stroked her head when she was crying and said, “It’s ‘kay bay-bee.” The first time you both set each other off laughing for no apparent reason.
You have a small space in age and I hope like this, the space between you will always remain small. I hope despite differences and arguments you will look out for one another, continue to light each other up, protect each other.
My firstborn, I could never forget you. We may not have had as much time together to ourselves as some do, but I have given you someone else to love you just as much as I do. A friend to navigate this beautiful life with.
I hope you talk about your memories together when I’m old and gray as I sit there listening to stories of table huts and travels . . .
Knowing it was worth absolutely everything.