I was fifteen when my sister was born. And though I lived with her for three years before leaving for college, I don’t really have a lot of strong memories concerning that time period. One that does stand out, though, was when she was just over a year, and I had the idea to take her to get pictures taken of both of us for my parents for Christmas. I had the whole thing planned out, but it necessitated having a reason to take Lizzie somewhere in the car without my mom, something I’d simply never needed to do before. And what stands out incredibly clearly to me is that when I was preparing to leave, Mom started crying while sitting at the table. When I asked her what was wrong, she just said she wanted me to be careful, because by taking my sister with me, I was essentially leaving her helpless to protect not just one, but both of her babies.

I don’t think I ended up doing it. I don’t remember.

The point is that now, as a mother, I can’t believe she would have taken that leap of faith to entrust me with her baby. I was a reasonably smart and average teenager, but I was by no stretch a great driver, and she obviously knew that. Yet she attempted in that moment to bridge the surely difficult road of parenting her generationally-gapped daughters, and made it clear to me that though she was scared, she trusted me. It was huge and though I’m sure that’s why I ended up choosing something else to do, I know I couldn’t have fully understood that sacrifice until only recently.

Much appreciated retrospectively, Mamasan.

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