When she was born I was a bony adolescent—what I call gawkward—who wore bifocals, DARE t-shirts, scrunchies, and fluorescent tracksuits. I left my sixth grade class early to go to the hospital to meet my new sister, who was round as a piece of gnocchi and as white, with a soft down of light red hair on her head like a smear of sauce.
I could have eaten her.
My mother, groggy from medication, asked worriedly if the baby’s nose was as big as it looked on an ultrasound photo from weeks before. I told her it did not. It was a tiny nub of a nose. She was beautiful. Perfect.
Last year my sister and I both celebrated milestone birthdays; I turned thirty and she eighteen. Because I am poor, thoughtful, and guilt-prone, I decided to give her a homemade gift: a small book of advice upon entering independent womanhood. A list of what I wish someone had told me when I was eighteen.
Why did guilt enter into this? Because I left home when she was only seven, and wasn’t close by for much of her childhood. [Read more...]