|My first sister and I, circa 1982|
Most first kids eventually get the fortune of holding their little sibling, just like I did when my first sister arrived. They get to observe them nurse and have their diaper changed, they watch for smiles and tears, they listen for coohs and cries and laughs. They learn how to help out and nurture and then one day, the little wordless sibling morphs into a little playmate. And the rest is predictably beautiful, as the story goes, a future filled with friendship and angst and fighting over the front seat.
My social little Stella is navigating a different journey. She is learning about death and about life, how elusive and tragic and beautiful it can be. She is facing sadness and heartache, things that she knows very little about. And without knowing it just yet, she is missing out on the beautifully complexities of siblinghood.
The only way Stella can be a big sister is to think and talk about Margot, which she does every single day. She wants to see her ashes. She wants to drive up to Margot's river. She picks flowers and then asks if she can trade her flowers with Margot for one of Margot's rocks in a jar. When she is sad, she says it's because Margot died. When we recently asked her what it means to die, she stated in no uncertain terms, "Margot die. Squish a bug it die. Mamma almost die." Yep.
And then yesterday in the car, out of the clear blue, using her new multi-sentence speaking abilities, she said:
"after school i'm gonna put on my wings and fly like tinkerbell and like airplane and i'm gonna look for margot and i'm gonna put margot in my belly and fly to my home and put margot in momma's belly and say 'YEAH!!!' and then say, 'does that feel better?' and i'm gonna put my wings back in my room with george and say 'YOUR WELCOME!!!"