Cheryl and I are 17 months and 1 day apart. Mom tells the story of coming home from the hospital with me as a newborn. She was worried about how Cheryl would react to the new addition both because Cheryl was so little and because she’d read parenting books explaining how older children can feel threatened when another baby enters the home. Mom carefully choreographed our very first introduction to show the utmost sensitivity to Cheryl. Dad waited with me in the car while Mom came into the house alone with a special present—a doll, I think—just for Cheryl. She let her sit on her lap for a bit, reassuring her that she was loved and valued and important to our family. Then Dad brought me in.
Mom says that Cheryl, who had been quite thrilled with the present, suddenly wanted nothing to do with it. She instantly cast it aside and ran over to me in my carrier. She spent the next few hours cooing at me, rubbing my head, pointing to my eyes and just beaming up at my mom.
I think each of us have a handful of stories from our childhood that really capture our personalities. For me, this is one of Cheryl’s—the selflessness of her mothering instinct, of getting the bigger picture.