Years ago, in high school, I imagined a grown up life that included an early marriage to a loving husband and six kids. Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself single into my forties.
Instead of six children of my own I have been blessed with six nieces and nephews. My youngest sister's family lives a half mile from me. She and her husband have two children. She has shared her life with me in an incredible way.
When she was pregnant with her youngest and her husband, a Marine, was in Afghanistan, they weren't sure he would be back in time for delivery. They asked me to be her labor coach. I gladly accepted the role.
I got the calls when the baby was squeezing her so tight she couldn't breathe. I heard about the nights of sleeping sitting up. I accompanied her and her older child to the ultrasound that revealed the gender of the baby. And I was there the morning the false alarm took us to the hospital at 5:30am.
When the time came, I sat with her all day, I cut the cord and I placed that precious little one in daddy's arms for the first time.
Over the years I have experienced Barney, The Wiggles, Dance, Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. I have picked up kids at daycare and stayed with them when they were sick and mom had to work.
I have been soccer mom and taxi service. I have been at school musicals, back to school night, birthday parties, karate practice, orthodontist visits and soccer games. I have been called to pick up kids when they missed the bus or forgot their art supplies.
Overnight visits have allowed mom and dad to get away for a night, a weekend or even a week. I know the joy of waking up beside the warm body that sprawled across the bed and kicked me all night. I grin when I think of waking to that smiling two year old face saying "Hi Tammie!"
I have been a horsey and a pillow and a mean lion. I have bouncy, bouncied on the trampoline and been laughed at when I went down and couldn't get back upright on the trampoline. I have played games, read stories and kissed hurts away.
My sister is an amazing mother and she has shared her two wonderful children with me. I have six nieces and nephews. I regret that I haven't been able to live close enough to share these things with all of them. I have never regretted the time spent to help when my sister needed me. I have lived vicariously!
I originally posted this on my other blog in 2007. I have been thinking about this post since the little one that I was privileged to attend his birth just turned 5!