New Bundle of Joy This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 25, 2011
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I sit patiently in the pale pink room and stare up at the pictures of babies on the walls. Some of the pictures are black and white, yet all were large and easy for the smallest eyes to see. I hang my dainty legs over the teal hospital chair and listen to a baby’s cry. I can’t help but wonder if it is the cry of my new sister. I move a pink headband up and down my skinny arm. It is for my sister, and it has a small, white flower on the top. Daddy had helped me pick it out the week before.

I hear the click of a nurse’s shoes as she walks down the hallway. I hurry to pull my legs up to my chest in a desperate attempt to look invisible. She walks closer and stops right in front of me. I close my eyes for a few seconds to avoid her, but when I open them, she is at eye level with me.

“Well, hello! I’ve been looking for you silly,” she says with a bright and friendly smile.

“Hi,” I reply with my face hidden behind my knees.

The nurse continues, “Would you like to see your sister?”

I shoot my head up from its awkward position and nod. She takes my hand and gently helps me up. I begin to walk slowly towards the area the nurse came from. The hallway is the same as the waiting room: pale pink walls with pictures of babies. We start slowing down at a cracked open door that seems too enormous for me to push. The nurse smoothly opens it to allow me in.

I first see my mom sitting up in the hospital bed. She looks tired in her white nightgown, and her short, brown hair is wet from her sweat. I then glance at Daddy sitting beside her. His hair is ruffled, and his black Marlboro sweatshirt seems to sag even more than usual.

“Hi, honey,” Mom says in a quiet whisper.

I ignore her greeting. I’m more curious to see the small, pink present she has hidden in her arms. I slowly stride across the room to my mother’s bed. Daddy lifts me up onto it, and I lay next to her comfortably. There’s a sudden aroma of something powdery and sweet. I reach my hand over to the cotton blanket and tenderly pull it back from my sister’s face.

I see the smallest face I’ve ever seen. She has wrinkles up and down her face and chest. Her bright blue eyes open for only a split second, and she attempts to fall back asleep. I get closer and put my finger in her fragile hand. It feels almost like a cloud.

“Sydney,” I whisper.

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