I will never forget the day my niece was born. A friend of mine worked at Sephora and had given me a giant bag of goodies. As I dug into it, I started trying out all the different products. And I mean all. I smeared on the face-life cream, eye patches to reduce puffiness, lip plumper, teeth whitening strips, cellulite goo on my thighs, stomach firming gel, foot tingly stuff with the special socks, exfoliators, you name it and I had it gobbed on my body.
Just as I was lying in bed like a mummy, stiff and probably high as a kite, from all the bio-hazardous chemicals I had lathered on, my sister texted me, “I think it’s time. Should I wake up Ian?” My sister, Mandy, had crept downstairs to her treadmill and had started working out at 11:30 at night her time to “work off” the contractions. Mandy is one of those people who you kind of want to hate, but you can’t because she’s so nice. She only eats when she’s hungry, she put on less weight during her pregnancy than I do eating a drunken late-night burrito, and she was WORKING OUT the night she went into labor. In fact, that was the nickname I had given the baby during Mandy’s pregnancy, “The Burrito,” because I told my sister there was no way she was actually pregnant, that she just looked like she had eaten a carne asada burrito and had a full tummy. “Kiss the Burrito for me,” I would tell her repeatedly over the next 9 months.
I think I rolled my eyes when I saw that she had texted that she was running her contractions away, but my eyes had gone numb at that point so I’m not really sure. “It’s really kind of hurting but I don’t want to have a false alarm,” she told me. “I’m having bad contractions, and I’m in a lot of pain. What do I do?”
The Big Sister panic button had been pushed. I was 3,000 miles away and I have no experience with childbirth. Okay. Breathe. Just breathe, Tracy. Consult Big Sister Handbook. Crap. No handbook. I’ve been meaning to get my hands on one. Okay, just stay calm.
“Like how bad is the pain?” I asked her.
“Really bad, I think it’s happening, but I’m not sure, how do you know?”
Umm. Ma’am? Heartache? I got that in the bag. Fight with Mom? Check. Trouble at work? No problem. Baby’s coming….Holy Hell, are you out of your mind, I haven’t a clue!!
“Okay, so like…it’s really hurting? Or really-really hurting? ‘Cause, I mean, I have this cream on my stomach and it’s really starting to hurt. Like more than tingle, I mean, I’m in a lot of pain now. I think it might be starting to eat away at my skin….” I lifted my shirt and peeked to make sure.
I glanced back at my phone, “REALLY??!? Really right now, you’re trying to compare my LABOR PAINS to your CELLULITE TREATMENT?!?!” Clearly my sister was being a bit irrational and she didn’t know how intense this stuff was, so I let that one slide.
“Yeah, ummm…I think you should probably wake up Ian now.”
I was on pins and needles the next few hours, and finally I got the call from Mandy, “She’s here! You have a niece!” We talked for a couple of minutes and when we hung up, I remember feeling so proud of her. How could the same person who had shared a bedroom with me growing up, now be a mother? I cried tears of joy that night, and tears of sadness for not being able to be there with her or to meet little Kailee. Then I cried tears of joy again when I looked in the mirror and saw how good my skin looked. I didn’t tell Mandy that part though. She was still emotional from all the hormones and might have thought I was being “shallow.”
I finally met my little Kailee a month and a half later and instantly fell in love. Holding my sister’s baby in my arms for the first time was one of the best moments of my life. Every time I’ve seen my little burrito since then, I am stunned at how smart she is and how fast she’s growing. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to come visit her Auntie so we can play beauty shop together!
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