Thursday, February 5, 2009

I paced the floor and went to the door only to be turned away. I tried coaxing and then begging. I even threatened and dropped names to no avail. They wouldn’t let me in. I was banned. I was only the sister. I wasn’t a nurse who could pull rank on all those other nurses. Nope I was just the sister. So I waited, and I paced ringing my hands and biting my lip. I wanted to be back there with my sister. I wanted to cheer her on and take away some of the pain. I was nervous as I looked over at my brother and sister-in-law in the waiting room. My mom promised she would come out and let us know as soon as she knew anything. You see our mom could go back there. Yeah she was the nurse who could pull rank on all those other nurses. We waited eager for some word, some sign. We joked and told stories about Matilda hoping that it would all be over soon. Then we saw her standing in the doorway, our mother with that look. That look that let us know she had given birth. The first was here. She had arrived.

She was the first grandchild, the first niece, the first new baby in the family in twenty years. Yes I was twenty when Tooter was born and I was as excited as a five year old with a new Chatty Cathy doll. I had my very own baby doll to dress up and play with and then give back to her mother. I was so excited and scared for my sister. I mean what did any of us kids know about being parents. We knew plenty about being kids but about being a parent? We knew not a thing. Meme, our mom, was speechless. She was thrilled and literally sucked all the new baby off this little baby girl with the curly hair. She was the most sensitive child I’ve ever seen. All you had to do was act like your were going to cry and she would well up and the waterworks would flow.

In no time at all that little squiggly girl stole all of our hearts as she wiggled her way into our lives. She spent hours sitting on her Granddad’s lap sucking peppermint sticks and ran endlessly through the backyard garden that my mother lovingly tended. She chased her dog Dinky through the butterfly laden flowers and splashed in the kiddie pool my mother, sister or I filled up. Then one day she got a cousin. Then a year later she got another one.

Still she remained the first. Numero Uno. The top banana. She was the ring leader. It was Tooter who talked the others into sneaking the pudding packs into their bedrooms and hiding the empty cartons under the bathroom sink. She convinced them to run naked through the garden. It was Tooter who made the rules to the ‘Everyone But Tadpole’ club. She was the leader of the pack.

Then I turned around and she was in school. Then in mere minutes she was in High School driving like a maniac and riding her horse. Then I woke up and she was a beautiful woman. She was all grown up. How did this happen that my little baby doll of a niece became a grown woman? Where did the time go? Why didn’t she stay little?

Then one day I realized that little baby girl who had grown up had also grown into one of my best friends. She has taught me to look at things from another view point. She has taught me to not be so quick to judge or to respond.

So today on her birthday I just want to say Happy Birthday Tooter. I also want to say thank you to Matilda for sharing her little angel with the whole family. Letting us practice our parenting skills on her baby girl. Most of all I want to say thank you to God for putting her in all of our lives. She has been a good friend to me, the love of Meme’s life and the apple of her mother’s eye. She has brought us all joy, laughter and love.


Queen Goob said...

Too quickly.....they grow up too quickly. Happy Birthday Tooter!

I hope she prints this out and places it in her scrap book to remember how much you mean to her. And to show all of her cousins that she always was and always will be top banana!

The Texas Woman said...

Happy birthday, Tooter!

The Texas Woman

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Tooter!
Hope it is a wonderful day for you
and that all of your wishes come true.
Your quirky second cousin

Jean Martha said...

Awesome post. I feel the same way about my niece Sarah - she was the first and she's more like a sister to me than a niece.

terri said...

Happy Birthday to Tooter. Your love for her is so evident! She's lucky to have you.

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Happy Birthday Tooter. Gladys this is such a sweet, heartfelt post, I had crocidile tears.

I'm sure when she reads this, she'll cry buckets.