The Umbilical Cord to Independence

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 9.07.40 PMRain pounded on the roof of the hospital as my stepmoms hands squeezed mine, tighter and tighter by the minute. By hour 28 I let her rest and headed home for the night. Awoken in the middle of the night to the call we had been waiting for! “Levi is almost here! Get in the car!”, my dad yelled about the arrival of my little brother.

Being 17 and having a newborn baby brother was never something I would have expected. But I guess it wasn’t too far out of the question three years after my dad married my now stepmom, Erin. This morning at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa was going to change our already “Modern Family” dynamic forever!

A few days before our lives changed forever I stumbled up on an article that I have since saved and shared with other girls with young stepmoms and soon to be born siblings. It highlights how to handle a woman in labor and how to approach various situations. I had absolutely no clue what it would be like, but she wanted me there.

“Remember: SHE SETS THE TONE. SHE’S THE BOSS.” The article shared the best piece of advice, in labor yes, but your entire life with a stepmom. I followed more than just that, I followed the mood from the lightening, the tone of her sound machine she brought with her, and the pace she spoke. These were all great tips I read and were really effective. Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 9.08.19 PM

The moment he was born, I cut the umbilical cord. But to be quite honest, I felt that at his birth they also cut mine. My independence and maturity grew with each breath he took.

I had never loved a little being more than little Levi. The months leading up to his birth, I think I bought every newborn outfit in town. I planned the gender reveal and surprised my parents and planned catering for the hospital with all of our guests.

We played Harvest Moon as tears of joys ran down. I do have an older brother and we have the same parents. But it was something about the vulnerability and innocence in Levi’s face that made me feel instantly protective and concerned about him.

I was going to therapy to understand how to be a better sister and how to be accepting of our new family dynamics. I was certainly excited but I was unsure how long that would last. We discussed having a sense of self.

Finding what was most important to me was crucial to being successful in life and learning to love. Our environment and surrounding play a key role in our identities and the way we feel. The instant respect and independence that was given to me the moment Levi was born really made a difference. I think the attention was so focused on me for so long that finally all the hard work they put towards me, they knew I would direct towards him.

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Having a sense of self allowed me to devote time towards issues I cared about. I spent the next two years being a youth mentor at a foster care program in Napa and built relationships I hope to maintain the rest of my life. With my last two years in high school, I built a great relationship with Levi and it made being home a positive and loving experience.

His interest in my life has changed over the years but it goes without saying that coming home from college is wonderful because I get to see him! This week I am able to step away from Boulder and hangout with him on the beach in Lanai!

 

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