Chris had always been a person in my life, a sister who, no matter what, came through, was always there for me. Sitting here, thinking about her, how she was a part of my life, my relationship with Rudy and eventually the perfect aunt for my kids, I’m remembering when Elizabeth, was born, and how Chris needed to take charge because Rudy and I, both thirteen years younger than her, were very anxious about me giving birth, an unknown territory for the two of us.
Chris, the oldest of 11 children, knew exactly what was going on (not only because she was like a second mother growing up, but because I don’t even know how many times, she helped feline after feline, dogs too, give birth to their new offspring). You wouldn’t know it, but I’m telling you, those lessons she learned were a definite asset for anyone feeling the pains of labor. She could read the situation and help the process move along smoothly. Chris knew the signs of “It’s time!”
When I was in labor with Liz (yet didn’t realize it) and Rudy, assuming I was just a little uncomfortable (because that’s what I told him “Oh I’m just a little uncomfortable”) was grabbing his jacket and heading towards the front door just as Chris walked into our tiny apartment.
“What?! She looked at Rudy, stared him down. “You are leaving? Going to work? Why? She is going to pop this baby out any moment! You can not leave! I won’t allow it.”
My sister. My older sister. My only sister was the boss. At that moment, regardless of any reason, viable or not, she was not going to let him leave.
“I don’t think so! She’s in labor. Daphne is going to have this baby today,” my sister said, giving Rudy no other reason to dispute her. “You need to call work! Tell them you will not be in.”
“Alright,” Rudy mumbled, which is not an easy task, trying to sway Rudy to an opinion other than his own. But, I think like me, he sensed arguing was pointless. Chris seriously knew her stuff.
I suddenly felt a jab, a painful ache, something more defined than I’d experienced as the days of Lizzy’s birth grew closer.
Chris was right. Rudy needed to get me to the hospital.
Driving there, a 20 minute trek, seemed to take forever. And the fact that the pains grew stronger didn’t help.
We were both anxious.
“It will be okay. You will do fine,” I heard Chris’ voice tell me. She was in my head.
“We are going to be fine. This is it!” I told Rudy, cringing as another contraction surged through me.
Within the next several hours, three to be exact, our dark-hard baby girl was born, using every inch of her lungs to cry out, as if telling us, you did good.
And there was Chris, waiting in the lobby, waiting for the news. Is the baby a boy? A girl? Is Daphne OK? Rudy walked up to her and hugged her. Tight.
“Thanks for making me stay home, for making me call into work to say I couldn’t go in.”
She hugged him just as tight.
He walked with Chris to the baby window, arm around her shoulders. They both smiled. Gazing at Elizabeth, a wee child that Chris would spend a lifetime adoring.