Mom! My "little" sister really did it this time!
Tim Whyte · March 9, 1997
She did it just to make me mad, just to make me yell, "Mommmmmm!"
My sister would show up, wherever my friends and I were playing -- say, in the sandbox in our back yard -- and she would drop 'em. Drop her training pants, right there, in front of us. I would scream, and she would laugh and laugh and laugh.
"Mommm!! She did it again!"
She had no shame. She was -- what? -- maybe two years old. Yet, she had discovered the joy of doing things differently, even if the only purpose was to get her brother's goat. My torment was her entertainment.
This was the baby girl who came into this world with an attitude that said, "Who's in charge here? Well forget it. I'm here now."
And later, this was the little girl who, after an altercation with a friend, came crying into the house: "Mommy! Taffy hit me back!"
That little girl has changed an awful lot. She's much more modest now, rarely throws the first punch and no longer drops her drawers in front of people. She grew up to be a school teacher, and a relatively conservative sort, so I'm comfortable now to say the pants-dropping thing was just a phase.
And now she's a mom. My "little" sister, Lori, is a mom.
How incongruous is that?
After what must have been 19 days of labor -- during which her husband, Jim, alternately went from hero to goat and back again depending on how bad the contractions were -- my little sister had a baby, late Friday night.
Having a baby. That's the kind of thing "little" sisters just don't do. Once they do that, they're not little sisters anymore. They're grown-ups, and when your little sister is a grown-up, what can you do but selfishly conclude that you are turning into an old fart?
There you go again, Lori: Getting my goat. But you know what? I couldn't be happier. How could anyone be more suited to care for this new, precious addition to our clan?
Welcome to the family, little Kylie Miranda Hofferber, all 7 pounds, 3 ounces of you. My, what a beautiful little girl you are. That's hereditary, you know.
You are about to meet an assortment of weirdos, crackpots and rascals who will love you more than you can imagine. They are your family, and you're pretty much stuck with them.
That includes me, and I'll let you decide if I am a crackpot, weirdo, rascal or all of the above.
You handled our first visit -- just an hour into your life -- with poise and aplomb, letting out nary a screech, scream or cry as the hospital room crowded with the gaggle of relatives who spent the better part of Friday waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting, while you did things at your own pace. As babies go, you seem downright mellow. The strong, silent type.
Then again, perhaps as a hint of things to come, we all immediately noticed that, in your first hour of life, you had already perfected that thrust-your-lower-lip-out pout. You, little Kylie, are going to be dangerous.
You are my first niece, which means I can spoil you with impunity. I can buy you toys. I can take you to the park. I can tickle your feet. I can teach you how to run fast after you have pulled my dog's tail. I can forgive you when you tease and taunt your cousin -- my boy, Luc -- as your Mommy did to me.
Your Mom and Dad will take good care of you, Ky-Ky. They will teach you how to walk and talk. They will show you life's simplest and best pleasures. One day not too long from now, they will take you to the zoo and buy you a balloon and an ice cream cone.
You will laugh -- a lot -- and sometimes maybe cry, but I know your Mommy. She will comfort you, give you a kiss and make it better.
And when you think there is a monster under your bed, she and your Daddy will protect you. Goodness, it seems like yesterday, your Mommy was far too young to be thinking about protecting anyone. Then, it was she who needed protecting.
She will scold you when your mischief goes too far, but that's because she loves you and wants the best for you. Here's a secret for you, Kylie: I have never seen your Mommy as happy as she was when the nurse handed you to her for the first time.
She will teach you your ABCs and teach you to count. She will teach you to be kind to others, and someday sooner than she thinks, she will take you to see Santa Claus. She and your Daddy will take you to Disneyland and see that magic sparkle in your eyes when you recognize Mickey Mouse.
She will feel the unrivaled joy when you say "Ma-Ma" for the first time, even if you're not yet quite sure what Ma-Ma even means.
My little sister is a mom.
That hasn't quite sunk in yet. My little sister is a mom. Someday soon, there may be a whole crew of little Hofferbers running around, perhaps Kylie and a brother, or Kylie and a sister, or maybe even brothers and sisters. Between my family and hers, there will be a veritable potpourri of rug rats.
And one day, won't my "little" sister be surprised to hear one yell from the sandbox:
"Mommmmm! She did it again!"
Tim Whyte is the magaging editor of
The Signal. His commentary appears on Sundays.
© 1997, THE SIGNAL -- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED