Friday, March 30, 2007

I just thought you should know

This post has been in my drafts for a long time (since 10/17/05, apparently) because it didn't seem fair to post it as it was actually happening. But now that the crisis has passed . . .

Growing up, it seemed like I was constantly in charge of my younger siblings -- my parents frequently went out at night, and when I was in high school, my mom got a part time job, leaving me in charge of the younger ones most afternoons after school.

My youngest sister was born when I was just shy of twelve years old. So Steph spent the first five years or so of her life with me as her oldest sister, but also to some extent as her surrogate mother. I have a harder time knowing where the boundaries are with her than I do my other siblings. I feel far more responsible for her than I do the others. I'm able to accept them as adults and I'm intimately aware that we're all growing older. But I've blocked out Steph's aging, to the extent that I still thought she was nineteen the year she turned twenty-one.

She'll graduate from college this December, and then I expect she'll be starting her "real life". For awhile she was talking about either moving somewhere near my parents after graduation, or coming here to Iowa City. Of course, I'd rather she come here, and only partly for selfish reasons, but I was fine with either choice.

Then last month, she said maybe she'd move to Texas instead. It's not really my favorite plan, but this one IS mostly for selfish reasons, so I've tried to let it go.

Last night, PJ called. I could hear Abigail cooing on the other end of the line. "She sounds like a happy baby, doesn't she?" queried PJ. "You'd never know to listen to her that she only had one nap."

We were gabbing about not much in particular when I asked, "Did you know Steph's talking about moving to Houston?" "I know!!" PJ burst out.

Then I heard: "It's ok, baby girl, it's ok. I didn't mean to scare you." PJ was trying hard not to laugh. "She's so tired, she's really having trouble holding it together. Apparently my talking's ok with her, but being excited about it is not."

And then I heard Abigail start to cry.

Did you hear that Steph?? Talking about you moving to Houston made the baby cry. I just thought you should know that.