The days after my brother's birth were awesome. All three of us - my mom, dad, and myself - were overjoyed. We smiled nonstop and gave him nonstop attention. My dad spent the first hours of Christopher's life holding him in a rocking chair as my mom slept in the recovery room. Hospital policy said I couldn't hold the baby for the first 24 hours, because I was under the age of 14. In fact, I had to stay at least a few feet AWAY from Christopher during this period. My dad's head hung low in front of his chest as he stared at the new bundle. I sat in a folding chair, about 5 feet away, bored to death, willing the hours to pass so I could hold him myself.
The first time I held Christopher was wonderful. We were in a tiny shared hospital room with multiple chairs and a large bed on wheels. My mom was sore and out-of-it. My dad watched intently as I carefully cradled Christopher. I was a lanky preadolescent; uncoordination is a dominant trait in our family. Slowly, I stood up to move to the other side of the room. My dad leaned in, hands ready, nervous as hell. My foot gingerly stepped forward and barely brushed against the bedside. My dad's arms flew out to catch the falling baby, even though nothing had happened. I sighed and said something like, "I'm FINE, dad. I'm fine."
Christopher was a fantastic baby. My mom nursed him every hour and a half to make sure he was "thriving." He began sleeping ten hour stretches at an early age. He rarely cried and was prone to staring contentedly into space for long spells. I enjoyed being a big sister to the uttermost. My first day back at school was fun. The principle announced that I had a new brother on the intercom. Hugh Simpson was my heart throb that year (and the year before -- it was a long crush) and we sat next to each other. Thanks to Christopher, we had our first real conversation:
Hugh: So. You have a baby brother?
Hugh: What's his name?
Me: Christopher Daniel
(Maybe that explains why I never had boyfriends?) Those of you who read Part 1 of Christopher's story know that his middle name is NOT Daniel; it is Milton. I was embarrassed to tell Hugh, so I made up a different name! It was a spur of the moment decision in the midst of sweaty palms and a wildly beating heart. Maybe if I'd used the real name, it's uniqueness would have sparked a longer conversation. Probably not.