Sometimes I worry about things I can’t change. Like the birth order of my children and the space between them. While I watch Belén and Susanna play through every waking moment together, I wonder about Vivi. What will she do without someone to chase when she should be brushing her teeth? Without someone to pretend she is on-stage when she should be setting the table? Without the other sister with whom play comes as natural as breathing? I imagine Vivian as stoic and lonely, isolated and withdrawn. And then I remember yesterday.
Yesterday was Family Hot Lunch at the girl’s school. This monthly event, entailing a break from bag lunches and visits from family members, is much anticipated around here. Before Belén left on the bus in the morning she gave me instructions. “Mom, can you put Vivi in some clothes that match?” Then she looked at me, still seated in the rocker and wearing my pajamas. “Maybe bathe her, too,” she added.
After the girls rushed off, I dutifully followed Belén’s directions, lathering Vivian’s porcelain teapot head, sudsing her miniature shoulder blades and back, and dressing her in the matchiest outfit I could find. It only took two hours for both of us to bathe, eat, dress, and shovel the car out, but it was worth it. Both Vivian and I were ready to see some different faces and we were not disappointed. From the moment we arrived at Belén’s room, to body-surfing with Susanna’s classmates (Vivian, not me), we had all the human contact we could’ve wished for.
We didn’t plan who would be born when in this family of ours. We didn’t plan on having a “trailer baby” eight years after we were done. And we didn’t plan how special it would be either. As I type this, Vivian is having an extra-long sleep, perhaps dreaming of her moment in the spotlight yesterday; it takes a lot of energy to be so famous. Maybe she’ll be alright after all.