Day 21 of the #AKwritingChallenge asks us if we’ve ever been so happy we have cried.
Yes, yes I have. I can count the number of times on one hand. One for each niece and my nephew and one for my marriage to My Companion. Notice I didn’t say the wedding. A wedding is a party, a marriage is a reason to celebrate.
One of those times really sticks with me and I have flashbacks of it every now and again.
My younger sister is one of my favorite people on this planet. This would be true if we had met as strangers and not as family. She’s sweet, kind, funny, generous, and so full of mom wisdom these days that it’s difficult to talk to her without feeling like I’m 8.
I love her, very much. When I’ve felt that she’s been threatened, every protective instinct I have comes into play and I’ll do whatever I have to in order to make sure she’s safe and happy.
She was arguing with a boyfriend at one point. A boyfriend who had decided they were broken up and wouldn’t let her into the house to collect her things. She called Big Sis. At the time Big Sis owned a big truck. I told the dude that if he didn’t let her in to collect her things then I would be coming to his house with my big truck and a big chain. I would be pulling his house off of its foundation and then he could deal with me.
He let her in.
Another time she had a friend over at my mother’s house after school. The friend was being harassed by a boy. The boy was stupid enough to break a window of the house when I pulled into the driveway. My sis thought smoke was coming out of my ears.
I stormed into that yard and scared the shit out of her friends that day but you know what? That window got fixed and that boy kept a civil tongue afterwards.
In other words, don’t mess with my sister.
Eventually she met a man she liked well enough to marry. The two are going strong and they have two gorgeous girls that I can’t get enough of.
My sister has a mean cervix that caused issues with her childbearing.
When she had her first daughter, things went okay. It wasn’t a totally smooth pregnancy. They were worried my niece would come way early and they gave my sister shots to help the baby grow faster. The eldest arrived the day after my sister’s birthday.
She went into labor on her birthday and vowed to keep that baby in until midnight. And she did.
Her daughter was my second nibling. I bawled my eyes out. My nephew and my nieces mean everything to me and I would throw myself in front of a train if needed to ensure their happiness.
My sister’s next pregnancy did not go smoothly at all. Because of her cervix issues she had to go on bed rest for many, many months. They gave her the same shots as before, and we all crossed our fingers and prayed.
I was in between jobs at the time, and my sister’s companion was working out of town. I swooped in and took over domestic responsibilities. For two months I spent my weekdays with my sister and my weekends were either back to a town 2 hours away or else to my brother’s house, which was an hour away and also had kids I liked to play with.
She went into labor early. Like, way early.
We were in the town 2 hours away when she went into labor. That may have been one of the fastest drives I’ve ever done between the two places.
It was the 12th, a Thursday. I remember this because this time my sis swore up and down her baby would not be born on Friday the 13th. Somehow her will won out and baby girl was born on the 12th.
I just realized how demanding she must seem about birth dates. Pretty funny.
Baby Girl was tiny, sickly. She had to stay in the NICU for a LONG time. We took turns, the family did, sitting with her and rocking so she had human contact. All the wires and pokes and prods to poor baby girl … ugh … I often tear up remembering that time period.
We were so scared she wasn’t going to be healthy. And we were worried for my sister. She’d had a difficult pregnancy and to have her baby not do well was so frightening. My mental wheels kept sticking as I tried to come up with ways to help her.
I took my oldest niece out and about when I could and then I realized something. There’s a reason God made me into a night owl. Aside from third shift jobs, this was my time to shine. I left the eldest niece with her dad’s side of the family. I sent my sis and her guy home and I sat with that baby all through the night.
The nurse laid her across my chest and I held this tiny bundle for hours. I rocked, I sang, I stroked her pretty head of hair. I traced her foot with all the needle marks and I cried from fear, from worry. Hell, writing about this is making me tear up now.
Around 5 am I slid my finger down the baby’s arm, around her wrist, and touched my finger into her palm. Her teeny, tiny hand curled around and clutched my finger and that’s when I knew.
Everything was going to be okay.
I don’t think I’ve cried harder in my life. Thankfully no one was around. Not that I’m ashamed of my tears but if you drew a diagram of suffering, I was not inner circle – that would have been my sister and her companion.
It was and always will be my job to keep a strong front for my sister, for my brother, and family in general. And my front was strong for that time period.
So, yes, #AKwritingChallenge, I have indeed been so happy that I’ve cried. It was awful and amazing and scary and exhilarating. I don’t know if I want to do it again.