E Em. Emmy.
My sister is called these names by my children. And she's been a huge part of their lives from the very beginning. She came to stay with me for a whole month, when I returned to work after having Michael. She took care of him. And me.
She was there again when Ella was born. Staying with me so that Joey and I could adjust to having two. To be there for Michael as he watched his little baby sister turn his life upside down for a bit.
And here she is holding Cally, shortly after meeting her for the first time.
And for the last few days, since Sunday, I've been thinking of her. In a daze really, it hasn't really sunk in that the next time I see her, she'll be holding a baby of her own.
Yes, that's right. I'm going to be an aunt!
I've always known that Naem would be a good mother. She is the glue in our family. She keeps us together and takes care of us. She's the worrier. The one who can sense something is the matter, when even I don't quite know. She loves with every part of her being. Ella reminds me of her in many ways, which is why I knew I wanted to have another baby. So that Ella could be the big sister she was made to be. A sister like Naem.
But for a long time, I wondered if Naem and Jared would have kids. They have been married eight years now. And then I listened, hopefully, as they began to speak about it more and more. In fact, after this summer, I had a good feeling that parenthood might not be far off for them.
And I'm so glad that it's here. That it's really happening. My little sister is going to be a mother. I've been feeling a range of emotions - mostly sheer joy at hearing this news, but I'll be honest there are other emotions. Like this strange sadness because I am not with her. I mean, I always miss my sisters. There isn't a moment when I don't. But this makes it worse. It makes my heart ache. I want to see her baby bump. I want to put my hand on her belly and feel my niece or nephew kick. I so desperately want to be a part of this experience for her. Like she has been for me. Then I think about how stupid it is for me to wallow in self-pity, because in the grand scheme of things, it's the big picture that counts. I'm going to be an aunt! I finally get to share this experience of motherhood - and the special bond that mothers have - with my own sister.
I keep looking at this picture of Naem and Jared's baby with total wonder. I love this baby already, in a way that I love my own children. This is what I feel. And I'm humbled by this - here I am looking at an ultrasound picture of a baby who isn't my own - and I'm as excited as I was to meet my own child.
I can't wait for May. I can't wait to have a chance to be an aunt to this child. These last few nights, I've thought about how important Naem and Jared are to my three. And I've hoped, nervously, that I will be as good an aunt to this new baby as Naem has been for mine. And I hope to be the sister Naem was for me, when I became a mother, for her as she becomes one.