Mira was born on New Year’s Day. My brothers had such a hard time breaking the news to me amid firecrackers and mechado. They all fled to the hospital, a mere five minutes from the house. I decided to stay because I didn’t want my mom to be alone on New Year’s Day. I don’t remember everything exactly.
They said it was a beautiful and funny moment. Much to my step-mother’s chagrin (i.e. extended labor pains), the doctor wanted to wait until midnight so the baby would be a New Year baby. And so she was.
New year, new baby, new life. Mira being born meant everything has changed. I can’t remember feeling anything when she was born. I just knew that my father was no longer solely ours. I remember when my step-mom broke the news that she was pregnant. Poor thing had such a hard time finding the words. I knew I was supposed to feel something then. But I didn’t. I was fifteen or sixteen then. I can’t even remember.
I haven’t felt anything since then.
But then I would be lying about not knowing things. I knew my parents were separating. I knew that my step-mom was pregnant. I knew that my brothers were bouncing off the walls. But I pretended not to know, pretended not to care. I had boys and school and books, and that was all that mattered.
Mira is now in her tweens and I watch with both joy and horror at how similar we are. Her obsessive love of books, her quirky unfeminine tastes, her frighteningly quick development, her awkward reserved nature around people.
She truly has the face of an angel. She is not hard to love. Heck, even my husband, who dislikes kids, said she is his favorite. He calls her Little Manang, while I am called Big Manang. He has odd tastes. No wonder he married me.
I take weird comfort that she inherited my father’s long and lanky genes. I am big and round from my mother’s side. She has a beautiful and kind face, without the awful sharpness of my eyes or my tongue.
I’ve heard my relatives say that she is no longer cute now that she is no longer the family pet. She has grown up too fast, too smart, too serious and has become boring. She now prefers biking, reading and writing than playing with the other kids. I hope she knows that being an introvert in a house full of people is okay. Damn them all with what they say.
She has better study habits than I did growing up. I think that she has more friends than I do. I think she will be adjusted to society than I am. I think she’s funnier than I am. I think she has better fashion sense than I have. I am glad she did not inherit the stick I have up my butt that naturally repels people. I am glad she is kinder and better looking than I’ll ever be.
But if she grows up feeling odd and different from the other kids, I hope she will read this and not feel alone. Growing up too fast sets you apart from the other kids. Believe me, I know. At age twenty-nine, I’m still coming to terms with that being okay.
I hope she knows that I love her, as similar or as different as she may be from myself. I love her with the fierce kind of love that only sisters have. I love her with the gnawing fear that she become like myself. I love her with the growing hope that she will live a better life than I did.
I am still getting used to feeling things again. But I feel a lot for Mira.