He was not a pretty sight. Eight pounds, eight ounces, and a whole lot of wrinkly skin. I had told my mother that having a brother would ruin my life and this first impression did not change my mind.
Victor was born in the middle of my freshman year. I was not looking forward to it and imagined hours of hellish screaming and smelly diapers adding to the mess which was my life. Not to mention, the little fellow had no eyebrows. That bothered me.
I was determined not to let myself fall in love with this silly child. I had heard sappy stories about babies changing lives with cute smiles and wide eyes but as far as I could see, Victor was definitely not up to par in terms of adorableness. He did not charm me with his tantrums, stubborn ability to scream himself red in the face, or the spectacular jaw strength he showed when he bit me - a charismatic trait it was not.
I complained. A lot. Why had this great annoyance been inserted into my life? But not a single soul would listen to my ranting. My mother was paying attention to him; my friends were paying attention to him; even my turtle, who had been loyal to me for 12 years, was paying attention to him. What, I wondered, was so interesting about him? I simply saw a huge pair of lungs and a disagreeable stomach.
Victor, in short, managed to destroy my life. The world used to be about my education, my health, and my sense of self-worth. After Victor appeared, I found myself cooking, cleaning, diapering, and ripping my hair out. I saw my life slipping out of my hands and into those of an inventive maker of fate - one who apparently wanted me to give up all control and hang on for a long and whirling ride.
Sitting back now and viewing the wreckage from afar, I can see more clearly the effect those dynamic years have had. I have stopped wondering what my life would have been like without this shock and instead find myself strangely happy to put aside my books to spend time with him. His smile is a a reprieve from the duress of everyday life. His small hands patch together the shattered pieces of my life and present them in such a way that even I have to admit every part is beautiful.
I now see a child almost three years old, complete with eyebrows. His life has become intertwined with mine in a way I never expected. Each day I wait to hear what new songs he has learned, to see what discoveries he will reveal to me. He is a liberator of sorts, freeing me from a life of superficiality and jadedness. I have succumbed to a miracle despite all my efforts, and for that I am glad.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the March 2007 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.