Word Count: 490
By Peg Scarano
By now, 5-year-old Julie had gotten used to my burgeoning belly and waddling walk. She finally understood that there was a baby in my body who was going to magically appear soon. She had all her hopes pegged on the baby being a little boy since her older sister could be really bossy and mean. A brother had to be better than a sister.
One afternoon, I experienced the tell-tale signs of labor. I called Rock to let him know and to remind him when I called back, it would be important, so please answer the phone. Then I made arrangements for a sitter. I managed to wait until five p.m. to call Rock back. Jenny was home from school and it was time to tell them I was going to the hospital. They exuded excitement! They jumped and danced around with Jenny yelling, “It’s a girl!” And Julie echoing back, “It’s a boy!” While I yelled, “Get me out of here!” speaking for both myself and the baby.
Around 9 p.m., I delivered a 9 pound, 10-1/2 ounce girl. While I recuperated, Rock made the call home. Jenny answered and screamed in delight when she heard it was a girl. He asked her to wake up Julie so he could gently tell her the news. Jenny ran into her room, shook her sister awake and screamed, “It’s a girl!” Well, so much for soothingly breaking the news.
Julie started to cry uncontrollably. The babysitter could not console her. Finally, Jenny’s heart must have softened and she took Julie in her arms and told her she would love her little sister just as much as if she was a little brother. Between the babysitter and Jenny telling her stories and whispering words of encouragement, Julie finally fell back to sleep on her tear-stained pillow.
The next afternoon, both girls came to the hospital to meet their new little sister. Julie sat herself down on a chair in gloomy silence. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me or even give me a hug. She just sat there with no spirit in her soul or twinkle in her eyes. It broke my heart to look at her so sad and small and slumped in the chair.
Then the nurse brought the baby in the room. She was all bundled up and so cute and cuddly. Jenny looked into the bassinette and said to her sister, “Oh, Julie! Come quick and look at her. You can’t even tell she’s a girl! I’ll pretend with you that she is a boy and we’ll all live happily ever after!” The sullen little girl tip-toed over, peeked at her baby sister and burst into a smile that would have brightened even the darkest of nights. She beamed up at her big sister with adoration and said, “You’re right, Jenny! Who would know it’s a girl!” And they did live happily ever after…Well, most of the time.