I was fourteen when my youngest sister, Charlotte, was born. Because my mother birthed her at home, I saw her when she was just seconds old and watched my father cut her cord, bundle her in a blanket, and hand her to my mother. When she cried her first soft cry, I fell in love on the spot. I couldn’t wait to come home from school so I could hold her and kiss the top of her head. I appointed myself as her second mother; some nights I lay awake in my bedroom, just below hers, listening for her cries and worrying that she’d stopped breathing. As she grew, I babysat her, played with her, and sometimes toted her along to my friends’ houses. I wrote down in my journal every cute thing she said, delighted in her curls and her cornflower blue eyes and the way she toddled around the house with her arms in the air when she first learned to walk.
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