My Angel Sister

February 27, 2012
The best way to get from here to there: definitely a car. But that’s not all. Next you need good music that you know the words to. And it has to be blaring so that you can sing to it at the top of your lungs. But of course, it wouldn’t be the same unless you had someone singing along with you, equally loud. Now that’s what I call supreme transportation.
As a 6th grader, I really looked up to my big sister in high school. Memories flood my mind of us together in her cheapo little blue car (blue moon as she liked to call it). But for some reason I can never remember where we were going. The memorable part was driving there. We could be as loud as we wanted without being scolded, sing out of key without being corrected, and have fun without worrying. No need for awkward silence, embarrassment, or feelings of inferiority. Our worries become basically non-existent. For a small moment, it was just me and my big sister, laughing and being silly together.
We both grew up; she graduated from college, I graduated from middle school. She got married, I didn’t. Through the years, I always looked forward to her visits. I called her whenever I needed someone to talk to that I trusted. She always gave me the greatest advice, and still does. In my mind, she is a beacon of strength.
When tragedy hit, none of us felt prepared. But the one who needed to be the most ready, was my sister. Pregnant with her first baby, she found out more than she wanted to at the ultra sound. She and her dear husband got devastating news that their baby boy had spina bifida, a birth defect that damages the spine. They couldn’t imagine that their child would come into this life without the ability to walk.
After the initial shock, tears, and heartache, she did all she could to find a solution. She didn’t accept that the ultrasound news was an ultimatum. Instead she researched the disease non-stop until she found a chance. It came in the form of a pre-natal surgery that was only available through a study called Management of Myelomeningocele, or the MOMs study. It was risky, but in the end she and her husband felt right about it.
She went to San Francisco to get the surgery, then stayed there for three months until she could have the baby. The MOMs study provided a house for the participants. The room she occupied for her stay was cramped and dull. Every week she got a different family member to stay with her. She couldn’t walk, because she had so many stitches in her stomach, so she was pushed around in a wheelchair. Away from her beloved husband in Arizona, they video chatted every night, but it wasn’t ever enough.
At the end of a very long wait, she had her baby. It went very well, but she was put through a lot physically and endured lots of pain during her recovery. Still, like a perfect angel, she continued to smile. She knew that her brief suffering would make a difference in her son’s life. And now, I have an angel of a nephew. He is learning to walk at age one and a half. He has a bright future all because of his mother’s complete selflessness and love. She is my hero.

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