Proud of Me

December 30, 2007
By Natalie Turner, Williamstown, NJ

It was Tuesday, May 14, 2002, when she was born. With her dark brown hair and bright blue eyes and smiling face, she was beautiful. I was almost six-years-old, and too young to fully realize that good parents don't have favorites. I just sat on the chair next to my mom's hospital bed and cradled Kara Jane Lang, my new baby sister, in my arms, already feeling jealous and left out. Once, I got extremely caught up in my envy that I almost dropped her. "Oops," I thought, hoping nobody would notice.

"Paige, she's barely an hour old!" Shouted my mom in fear, "try to be more careful." Yup, she noticed. But then, she turned to my dad and their parents and cooed, “Isn't she just adorable? I think I'm the proudest mother in the world right now. After hearing that, I knew i should be proud too, but I was too busy trying to keep my face from turning bright red with jealousy.

It was Sunday, May 14, 2006, when she turned four. We were having a double birthday party since I was to turn 10 in two weeks. She insisted on a Dora the Explorer themed birthday party and invited her two best friends from preschool. I wanted a monkey themed party and invited my best friend from school. We went with Dora because she has a monkey for a best friend.

"Jada, Claire, Hannah, why don't you put your gifts over here on the couch and get yourselves some cake. I hope you like chocolate," my dad teased Jada, Kara's "bestest friend in the whole wide world" who is totally addicted to chocolate everything. Hannah, my best friend, is allergic to chocolate. My mom was the only one who noticed or sympathized.

When we finished the cake and ice cream, Kara requested playing hide-and-go-seek because that's the “funnest game in the whole wide world.” Hannah and I are too big to fit in all the good hiding spots, so we suggested karaoke. Since it was three against two, Hannah and I were forced to either squeeze or lose. When Kara won, my mom exclaimed, just as she had 4 years ago, “I am so proud!”

It was Monday, August 28, 2006, when she started kindergarten and I started fifth grade. Everyday when my dad picked us up from school he'd ask us what we learned. Kara would tell us what new words she learned how to spell. They were all words like “cat” and “house” and “girl” and “down”. When she would finish going over her list of words and telling us absolutely everything that happened, I would grab my chance to speak and say something like, “I had my first math test today” or “my class is learning about adverbs and adjectives in Language Arts.” By the time I finished that first sentence we were already pulling into the garage. Boy, how I wish I could give that sister of mine a spanking or time-out sometimes. But, as always, my dad so proud of her progress, and barely noticed me. Or so I thought.

After dessert, once Kara was tucked in bed, sound asleep and I was working on some science homework, my parents called me into the living room so we wouldn't wake Kara. I squeezed between them on the couch, and they began speaking.

“Paige,” my mom began, “I... we, your father and I, want to say sorry.”

“What?” I was genuinely surprised at how this conversation had started, and was wondering where it was headed.

“You see, we know that you've been feeling a little left out, and we just want to let you know that we understand.” Dad added. “Your sister has been stealing your spotlight, and I really want to know what you've been learning about at school and whether or not you liked dinner.” There he goes again, he's always teasing someone.

“Well, for starters,” I teased back, “those were the best meatloaf muffins I've ever tasted, I had a math test today on fractions, and I need help with my science homework.”

“Oh,” my mom chuckled with her light, floaty voice, “We're so proud of you, Paige!”

“I think I'm the proudest daddy in the whole wide world!”

“And I,” I replied with a really big smile, “am the proudest daughter in the world! I love you!

“And we love you, but let's get to work on that homework, shall we?”

And on that day, Friday, September 8, 2006, was the day I felt genuinely proud of myself and my parents.

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