Imagine yourself a freshmen in high school beginning your independence. Since I was the oldest child, I was the first to begin exploring the worlds of dating, extra-curricular clubs and the upperclassmen. However one afternoon my parents sat my two sisters and me down. My parents, smiling at each other, proceeded to say, "Girls, we have something to tell you." The next seven words would change me forever: "We are going to have a baby."
My mouth dropped and my emotions started to race. How could they do this? Aren't they too old? What about me? This baby will take all their time. To my parents' dismay my first reaction to their happy announcement was tears - pity for myself.
After the initial shock and brief phase of denial, I finally began to enjoy my mom's pregnancy. It was fun trying to choose names for a girl or boy and placing my hand on my mom's stomach anticipating the baby's kick. During this time I even become closer with my mom.
Then finally on the morning of Sept. 20, 1994, we were going to the hospital. Around 4:00 p.m. my mom went into heavy labor. All three of us were brought into the delivery room. The experience of being next to a woman while she is giving birth is not something every girl has. I'm glad, though, that I was there, because the feeling I got when the doctor held the baby up and said it was a boy was something I would not have wanted to miss. As I held my brother I began to cry - this time from the happiness and excitement of having a new baby brother, Jonathan.
This baby has taught me many things in his two years of life. As an infant he taught me the responsibility it takes to care for a human being who is completely dependent on you. This baby is not a doll to be put on a shelf, he needs to be cared for 24 hours a day.
As my brother grew older our means of entertaining him needed to constantly change. Usually he could only be entertained for five minutes tops, then it went onto something different. There is no debating that Jonathan has taught me how to make the most of my creativity. Together we would have the greatest adventures whether it was outside in the yard or under his bed covers.
The most valuable thing my brother has taught me is how to love. He's lucky enough to have a mom, dad, and three older sisters who love him very much, but the love that he returns is greater than all of ours put together. You can see it in his big blue eyes that lock onto yours when you come home from school. He is very generous with his little hugs and those quick little pecks on the cheek that make your heart melt. What Jonathan has taught me is that you feel much happier inside when you decide to love someone and do it whole heartedly. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.