Monday, July 21, 2008

The Impossibility of Her Seemingly Simple Request

This morning the Little One woke me with a very clear request: she wanted a big brother, please. This one took me by surprise. Up until this point she had been asking for a brother AND a sister, but understood that she would be the big sister and was excited about teaching them everything. So I figured our biggest worry would be how she would react when she discovered that she would be getting one or the other and not both (unless, that is, we hit the twin jackpot as requested, a thought both frightening and delightful at this point in my life). But the older sibling request was a new one.

I remember desperately wanting an older sib myself, so it shouldn't have been such a surprise. I was not only the oldest in my immediate family but also the oldest of all the cousins, so I had no one to dote on me or protect me. My little brother (who often wished to be the older one) and I would sometimes play at being the "other" sibling, trying to fulfill each other's wish. But it wasn't the same thing. Especially because I really wanted a big sister. I imagined just how she would be: tall, athletic, with long blonde hair, a sparkling laugh, and a special wink just for me, her adored baby sister.

When the Little One made her request this morning, I took a deep breath and then explained that it was impossible. She was crushed. She asked again, begging. I had to tell her again that it just doesn't work that way. I offered what I knew would be slim consolation: the fact that she has older cousins who could act like older sibs to her. She wasn't buying it. I completely and totally understood.

It turns out that her request was inspired by a segment on this morning's Sesame Street, in which a big brother was taking loving care of his little sister, including (from what I could piece together from the Little One's description) helping her to do a handstand. (Or perhaps holding her feet up so she could play "wheelbarrow? It was one or the other. Her description and miming of the scene was a bit difficult to interpret.) It broke my heart a little to think of her watching this and the desire forming in her heart for a big brother of her own. Sigh.

I'm hoping that the joys of being a big sister will be just the balm she needs for the wound sustained this morning when we told her she would never have an older sib. And I dearly hope we will get the opportunity to give her that gift. I'll be 41 next month, so the clock is not just ticking, it's now tocking, loudly. Time to get busy! (Pun FULLY intended.) ;)


followthatdog said...

Oh man, that would be a hard one to fulfill. I'm sure the baby or babies will be what she needs to get over it. So, what are you doing here reading blog comments? Aren't you supposed to be doing something else? um, ya know.

catnip said...

We always want what we can't have. I always wanted to be an only child. Heh. I'm really the youngest of seven.

Heather said...

I always wanted an older sibling too. We laugh, but I'm sure it was hard to see her little face fall with the thought of never getting to be a little sister.