I, Nicole, am very aware that the big V-day the some love and others don’t was about 8 days ago. What can I say? I’ve been busy. I meant to post, but didn’t. So now it’s here. The story of my favorite Valentine Day’s ‘present.’ It’s been a gift that keeps on giving you might say.
It was 1992. I was six and a first grader. On the night of the 13th, my house was unusually a-buzz with pre-Valentine’s Day activity. My older sister and I were just nodding off to bed when my mom shook us awake. “Girls, time to get up, we’ve got an early Valentine’s Day present for you guys.” Immediately thinking of lots of chocolate, one of us piped up, “What is it?” My mother rubbed her belly and said, “The baby’s ready. I’m going to the hospital,” still whispering as all the world slept with visions of roses dancing in their heads.
It was a rush to grab our packed bags; I’m sure my dad called our aunt and the ‘on-call’ friends (the Smiths was it?) who were meant to keep us during the delivery hours. A cold drive over the snow-covered country road in southern Montana ended us at a house where we were fed peanut butter and jelly crust-less sandwiches, given some milk, and asked, “Are you excited?” before we fell asleep with visions of babies dancing in our head.
My aunt picked us up in the morning. I don’t remember if we went to school that day. Can’t remember any Valentine’s Day party, or valentines from cute boys, or my teacher that year. I DO remember pacing the floor in our log cabin home, while my aunt closely watched as I ate the GIANT Hershey kiss my mom has left for each of us before she rushed off to the delivery room. I devoured that GIANT kiss, feeding my nerves with what any 6 year old would on the day of her sister’s birth.
She had jet-black hair, eyes that hardly opened, peach lips that pursed in expectation of food, hands that looked so tiny when they grabbed my finger. She also held endless possibility for play-time. A real, live baby doll that was all my own. A real baby that was all my own. She wasn’t the slide for our swing-set that Gail & I thought we were getting when my parents said, “Girls we have a surprise. We’re getting a new addition to the family.” All slides and swing-sets aside, I sure was delighted by the arrival of that button nose and spiky, black hair and the heart held inside.
And now I see that she holds endless possibility of Life. Of changing Life. And giving Life. And just being wonderfully fun in Life. She really isn’t a peanut any more, but I sure think of her that way at times. Sorry, Stacey, for holding your little, pink mouth shut when you were a newborn and mom wasn’t looking. I just really wasn’t sure if your nostrils were big enough to breathe through. I’m glad you weren’t brain-damaged on my account. And glad the nostrils work. Among other things. 😉 Love you, Little Bit.