I remember everything about Jan. 6, 1981. It was -20 degrees at 11:47 a.m. Someone was revving a motorcycle engine beneath the window of the Ellsworth Hospital birthing room. I had the flu the night before with a temperature of 101.
Driving by sea smoke rising over iced-up Southwest Harbor, we arrived at the hospital around 8 a.m. We started walking up and down the hallway, me wearing a brick-colored corduroy jumper that my friends passed around as a shared pregnant outfit, heavy long underwear underneath.
Ethan was fast, sort of like a freight train, understandably tired after his ordeal. So was I but I asked for a brownie. Wearing a tiny yellow cap, he kept falling asleep instead of nursing.
When he was a few hours old, our friends Claire and Jay brought big sister Brook in, and I’ll never forget her sitting on the bed where he was born, holding him, looking into his eyes.
Siblings have the longest relationships. Who knows what Brook was thinking? She was excited about having a steak dinner with pumpkin pie and hot chocolate before we were sent home to avoid a blizzard.
Thirty years later, Ethan spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas with Brook and her boyfriend, Gianmarco. This makes me very happy.
People often say that parents sacrifice so much having children. I used to think about how Brook would be 8 when Ethan was 5; she would be 18 when he was 15, and so on. I wondered what they would be like. But I’ve always felt that they have given me so much more than I’ve ever “sacrificed.”
So this is a little mushy, but what can I say? Happy Birthday Ethan, and thank you Brook for being the best big sister ever.