The moment Faith Marie opened her eyes and tightly wrapped her small soft hands around my finger, I knew I was in love.
Considering that we had sat in an Arizona hospital for five hours, I’d say my grandma did a great job keeping my 11-year-old self patient enough to wait for the doctors to call us in. Even though they only allowed my oldest sister, Takarra, and her boyfriend, Stephen, in the delivery room, I was still excited for the baby to come. I sat near the front desk, as close to the back rooms as the receptionists would let me go, waiting for the big automatic doors to swing open. It felt like my sister had been pregnant for forever, and I couldn’t wait to become an aunt. Faith was going to be the first baby in the family since me, and although I was a little upset I wouldn’t be the baby in the family anymore, I knew we’d be best friends.
As we continued to wait, my second oldest sister, Fellanie, and her boyfriend, Jaydan, decided to spend their time running around, pushing each other in wheelchairs they found in the hallways until we nearly got kicked out of the waiting room. Even though we were all antsy, they eventually settled down and sat with the rest of the family as we pushed chairs together to be closer. Not too long after, my brother Jeremy’s phone began to ring and it was a Facetime call from my sister in the delivery room. He eagerly answered the phone and I was shocked to see Faith’s dark black hair and sleepy eyes. I knew it was time and I got up and ran to the doors.
The ladies at the front desk wouldn’t open them until my brother went up there and they gave him the clearance to go in. I sprinted down the halls past people in white coats telling me to slow down. I kept going, popping into each room frantically trying to find my sister. After accidentally running into three wrong rooms, surprising all the other new moms who were delivering their babies, I finally found my sister who was wearily lying in bed. Being the first one in the room, I ran to her side, and there she was: Faith Marie, so small with her little grunts, pressed against my sister.
I couldn’t believe she was already here. I was overwhelmed with excitement and joy, and I knew I wanted to stay with her until we were able to bring her home. One of the nurses pulled in an extra bed right next to my sister’s for me. We stayed in the hospital for about two days, and every time Faith cried, I woke up and held her so that my sister could rest. I watched the nurses as they took her vitals every few hours and followed everywhere they took her. Even though Faith was only a baby and didn’t do much, I still loved playing with her as well as just being around her. At only 11, and practically a baby myself, the whole experience was so educational to me. Joining my sister’s journey to care for her child, I got to experience the love of a new life coming into the world.
Five years later, I’m still learning.
I’m learning the challenges from the outside perspectives of how hard being a parent can be and just how fast kids grow. In a way, this experience has shown me how fast life goes by and just how valuable every second is. It feels like just yesterday I was holding six tiny pounds, wrapped in a blanket, on my lap. Now, Faith’s walking, running, talking and just growing into such a mature young lady. As she continues to grow and get older, I realize I am too. Not only is Faith five years older, but so am I. I value the relationship we have so much, and am thankful for how much time we’ve spent and have left together. I wouldn’t want any other little girl making me an aunt and giving me that title