Not quite two when the drama of her baby sister’s life unfolded, Andrea gradually became fully aware of the change that had taken place in our family. She took her role as big sister seriously and made it her mission to ensure Wendy was not forgotten.
Today is my very first day of Kindergarten.
Today I will be a school-girl. Mommy better make sure my clothes are ready because I’m not going to be late.
Why is Luke fussing? This is my day. That baby better hush up.
Okay. He’s ready now. And I’m all ready to go. I have my backpack and my new shoes.
Today I’m going to be a school-girl at Rutherford School Kindergarten.
My teacher says her name is Mrs. Shore. She has very big yellow hair. It looks smooth and hard. If she bends down by me maybe I can touch it.
Mrs. Shore says we are going to have our first assignment. An assignment is something the teacher tells us, that we are supposed to do. We are to take our brand new crayons and a piece of paper and draw a picture of our family. This is easy! I thought we might have to do something hard, but I know how to do this.
My picture is ready for Mrs. Shore to put up on the wall. Each of us gets to take our picture to her and tell her who is in the picture and she is writing the names beside each person.
That kid put his dog in his picture. We don’t have a dog. If we did, I wouldn’t put it in the picture. Only people are part of a family.
Now it’s my turn.
“Here, Mrs. Shore. Here’s the picture of my family.
That is my mother and her name is Bobbi Junior.
That is my father and his name is Rick Junior.
That is me and my name is Andrea Junior.
And the one by my mom’s leg is my brother and he is Luke Junior.
Mrs. Shore, wait. You didn’t ask the name of the baby in heaven.
There, by the sun. That’s a baby. That’s my baby sister.
Yes. I have a baby sister in heaven. Her name is Wendy.
No, I’m not making it up. I have a real sister. She is in heaven.
Well you can just ask my mother if you don’t believe me. She’ll tell you.”
MOM! That teacher’s really, really stupid. She doesn’t think sisters in heaven are real. You better talk to her right now!
For the next few years, I made a point of telling each of Andrea’s new teachers that she had two siblings: Wendy, who was in heaven, and her little brother, Luke. We were, as Andrea made clear, a family of five, without any dogs.
Join me next week for Ch. 43. Lessons Learned
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