When I was in ninth grade, my parents announced that baby number six was on the way. I was fourteen years old and completely horrified. My parents were certainly too old to still be doing that and hey, five kids seemed like PLENTY to an oldest child who was already sharing a room with a fourth grader.
So I told my them I was never going to love the baby and they could forget about me ever babysitting or helping with "it." It sound selfish and teenager-y but at the time I just couldn't understand any of it.
I'm sure it's not a huge surprise that once Elizabeth was actually born, I was instantly in love with her and I have been ever since. But even at the time I was still concerned that since there were 14 years between us, I would be more of a parent or aunt figure than a sister. I was certain she'd be babysitting my three years old by the time she was my age.
The universe has a wicked sense of humor though and now Elizabeth and I-the engine and the caboose of the Clifford sibs-are the two remaining single children. The last two weeks have been almost comical as she sends me sad texts about her current boy situation and then she offers me similiar advice when I send her sad texts about the demise of my own promising romance. This little girl whose diaper's I once changed and used to be afraid of wind and rain. She is 19 now and I have been impressed with the dignity and grace she is showing in the face of a pretty major heartbreak. We were teaching her Beatles songs when she was two and was the little one when my parents divorced so she's often had to be more adult than perhaps she was ready to be.
I sent her a request for a Dear Me letter and she asked if she could write a letter to her older self instead. I loved the idea and I love the result even more.
I too hope that she always listens to "Slow Ride" when she buys a new car and I can tell her that yes, her older self will look back and say "that really wasn't so bad."