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Waiting for Ashley
I can still remember how excited I felt after being told that news on New Year’s Eve three years ago. It seemed like it was too good to be true. I had wanted this to happen for so long and now it was going to. When I woke up the next day, I knew it had to be a dream, but then my mom started talking about it. That was when it hit me?I was finally going to be a big sister.
“The ball is going to drop soon!” someone yelled.
We were at a New Year’s Eve party at my step dad, John’s, friend’s house. People gathered around the TV to watch the countdown to the new year in Times Square. Only ten minutes remained of the year 2006. I was sitting between my mom and John, talking about the new year.
“So,” my mom began, “this year’s gonna be big for you, Lyss.”
“Yea,” John added, “you’re gonna be starting middle school this year.”
I knew that they were hiding something from me. I could tell by that tone in their voices, the one where they speak with way too much enthusiasm. But what could they be hiding from me? And why would they be telling me now, at a New Year’s Eve party? This must be something big, I thought. I squirmed in my seat from the anticipation of it. Just be patient, I told myself, you’ll find out soon enough. For now I figured I should go along with what they were saying, so I just nodded my head and said, “I know! I can’t believe it!”
I got so lost in my thoughts that I completely forgot about the ball dropping. Before I knew it, the people surrounding the TV were counting down to 2007.
“…5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year!” I yelled over the rest of the cheering.
“Guess what?” John asked. My mom answered before I got a chance to.
“You’re also gonna be a big sister this year! I’m pregnant!”
The only thoughts in my head were, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, yes! I would finally get the brother or sister that I had wanted all my life; but I couldn’t but to be skeptical. I had fallen for this trick many times in the past.
“Are you serious?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at them.
“Yes, this time we’re serious. I promise,” my mom said, and I knew that this time she wasn’t lying to me.
Suddenly all the noise in the room seemed to suddenly get softer, turning into a low hum that wasn’t important to me at all. And people that walked past me were nothing but blurs. I felt like I was dreaming, even though I knew I wasn’t. I never would have guessed in a million years that this was what they had to tell me. It happened so suddenly, and it was a lot to process all at once. I felt so confused, and the only thing I really knew was that I was ecstatic. I felt my lips curve into an involuntary smile. There was so much excitement running through me that I must have been vibrating. I tried to think of something to say, but I was speechless.
“Are you excited?” my mom asked.
“Hmmm, let me think–yes!” I said like it was the most obvious question in the world. “Does anyone else know?”
“Nope. You’re the first person we told,” John said, “we’ll tell more people later today.” That made sense. Later today we would be celebrating New Year’s with our family, and it would be the perfect time to tell everyone about the baby.
“When’s the due date?” I asked.
“We don’t know yet,” my mom answered, “it’ll probably be some time around August or September.”
And she had been right. The due date happened to be on the same day as my mom and step dad’s anniversary: August 20th.
That would be almost eight full months of waiting. About two months into the wait, I was quite pleased (to say the least) when I found out that I was going to have a sister. I spent a lot of the next six months helping my mom and John pick out furniture and clothes and toys and even names for the baby girl. I only got more and more excited as August 20th got closer and closer. However, there was a part of my mind that was beginning to doubt that having a sister would be as amazing as I had imagined it to be. The wait was just too long. How could anything be worth a wait like this? I tried not to think about it. I just continued on with the agonizing wait, until one morning I was woken up by my mom saying, “I think you’re sister’s gonna be born today.”
And again, she was right. That night, on August 17th, 2007, Ashley was born.
I walked into the hospital room to see my mom holding my sleeping sister. She was all wrapped up in hospital blankets and I could see a little bit of dark brown hair peeking out from under her tiny pink hat.
“Do you want to hold her?” my mom asked me.
“Sure!” I answered enthusiastically.
I sat down in the chair next to the hospital bed, and John took Ashley from my mom and gave her to me, waking her up. Right from this first time I held her, I knew that she had definitely been worth the eight month long wait. Her eyes wandered around the room, and despite the fact that infants could only see lights and shadows, she looked right at me with big brown eyes. They looked so gentle and loving that it almost took my breath away. Even after all of the things I had imagined about having a sister, I had never imagined anything like this. I was so excited that she was finally here, and I was relieved that I wouldn’t be at all disappointed after all.
Of course, Ashley did take a lot of work, and luckily I wasn’t the one doing most of it, but I still had to help. When I babysat her, I had to feed her and change her diapers and help her fall asleep and calm her down when she cried. As she got older, she was happy whenever she had someone to play with, but she started to become a lot more disobedient.
We tell her not to throw her food on the floor during dinner, and she slowly turns her head while still looking at us out of the corner of her eye. Then she slowly drags her plate to the edge of the table, and as soon as we try to grab it from her, she throws it on the floor as fast as she can. And I get to clean it up.
Even with her disobedience, I have never once been disappointed. Having a sister has been everything I thought it would be and more, because with every frustrating thing she does comes something cute she says or does that more than makes up for it.
Like when I come home from school and I hear her footsteps running to the door. When I walk in, she’s smiling from ear to ear, and her eyes are filled with nothing but pure joy. She yells, “Yaya!” which is her nickname for me. I pick her up and she wraps her arms around me like she hasn’t seen me for years, even though it’s only been a few hours.
And to me that’s definitely worth a little bit of cleanup at dinnertime.