My brother Cabel was born the summer that I turned six. The day ranks up there, along with my wedding day and the births of my children, as one of the top five best days of my life. Because even though we had (and still do!) fantastic, loving, fun, creative, involved and inspiring parents, that boy was mine...all mine. I was ready, willing and able to be his mom too.
My grandparents were babysitting me when my mom gave birth. I remember playing a board game with my grandmother in the living room as the phone rang. We went running down the hall to hear the news as my grandfather answered the phone in his office (where I sit right now). I rounded the corner in time to see his beaming face exclaiming with delight, "It's a boy!" I couldn't have been happier and immediately began counting the minutes until I could hold Cabel Maxfield in my arms.
My dad took me to Sears and bought me a new outfit for our trip to the hospital. A Scotch plaid jumper with tights and shiny shoes. It felt so foreign and exciting to be shopping only with my dad, for such an important costume. How much more grown up could I be? My ego was dashed mere hours later when, in 1976 hospital fashion, I wasn't even allowed onto the maternity floor. So I was carefully positioned on the padded bench outside of the elevator doors with instructions to wait for my parents and the baby. The baby! Minutes were hours. Each time the elevator doors opened I stood, only to be greeted by masses of unfamiliar faces. Sitting, standing, sitting, standing. Finally among the strangers emerged my lovely parents and the sweetest bundle of baby I had ever seen. The reward for my patience was the honor of holding him, on my lap, for the entire car ride home. Not until I was a mother myself did I realize what a huge leap of faith that had been, even in a world without infant carriers and child restraints.
We've always been friends, always been close, even through the bouts of normal sibling rivalry that came with age. There were the plays I concocted in which I coerced him to act, my ankles he grabbed from the darkness under the bed, the diary he pried open and read unbeknownst to me. We spent an entire summer filming a stop-action Lego movie and many, many times he made me laugh so hard that whatever I was drinking flew out of my nose, chocolate milkshake being by far the most painful. And through it all I've always been bursting with pride for him, as beaming as our own parents over his successes and accomplishments. He'll be 30 this summer, hard to believe. He's become an amazing grown-up guy: smart, musical, interesting, funny, kind, passionate about life and living it joyfully. I just can't help myself, I'm as enchanted with Cabel as I was staring at his tiny fingers through the turns and stoplights of that first car ride home.