My sister and I are pretty close. The kind of close where I asked her if I could borrow a pair of underwear when I ran out at my parents’ house the other week and she gave me a pair of my own back that she’d somehow wound up with three years ago. That she’d been wearing.
Is that weird? My husband The Engineer thinks so. But he doesn’t have a brother, so I don’t think his opinion counts.
My sister was the first person I told when I found out we were expecting. She stayed with me in the hospital when I experienced early labor, sleeping on a chair one night and a couch the next so that The Engineer could save his vacation days for when the baby came. She was there when Little Darcy was born, exchanging eye rolls with The Engineer over my head during transition and taking photos of the first few moments we had with our son.
We’re pretty honest with each other. My whole side of the family is, in fact. We’re the type of family that expresses every emotion as we feel it, nice or not. Not, if we haven’t been fed in awhile. Which is why I’m still surprised my postpartum depression slipped under the radar for almost a year.
My sister stayed with us a lot after LD was born. Partly because she fell head over heels in love with him the moment he was ripped from my body (coincidentally the same moment she decided she didn’t want to have children), partly because she was starting optometry school in the fall and wouldn’t get to see us for awhile. She was there so much we nicknamed her LD’s “Dry Mama”—kind of like the opposite of a wet nurse. My sister is more than an aunt, more than a godmother to LD—she’s truly his second mother. (A title The Engineer doesn’t always appreciate—but then, he gets a little uncomfortable when we make jokes about being Sister Wives. He’s so old-fashioned that way.)
Sometimes, when I let myself lumber down the dangerous path of “what ifs,” I think about what may have happened had my sister not been so involved in the early part of LD’s life. It was a very, very dark time for me—but I kept the ugly parts of motherhood hidden as best I could. Thank God she was there to step in as a surrogate mama, to love LD and to bond with him in ways I just couldn’t at the time.
So there she is—the fourth major player in our little Midwestern drama. Dry Mama, the little sister I spent so much of my life protecting, now self-proclaimed style consultant to LD with “preferred holding status.” The “monkey see monkey do” little girl who always wanted to dress like me, to play the same instruments as me- turned role model to me.
Both searching for a life of authenticity, simplicity, and joy.
Are your kids lucky enough to have a Dry Mama in their life? Do you have a slightly less…descriptive…nickname for him or her?