by Sana Hameed, Age 14, USA
Artwork by Natasha Graves
I tentatively flipped through the glossy pages of various magazines, my eyes flickering from the pictures, to the nature channel’s documentary on seahorses playing on the overhead television. I wanted to sleep so badly, but I couldn’t bring myself to close my eyes, knowing that I may miss the first moment, the first moment I would be able to see my little sister, hold her tenderly, and tell her how much I love her. She was my present this Christmas, the present I had patiently waited for since the day I was born. I didn’t want to be alone anymore. I wanted a friend and companion to teach and love and take care of.
“You tired sweetie?” I heard grandpa ask.
I rolled my eyes and smiled softly. “I am, but I can’t sleep until I see her. I just need to stay awake. Promise to keep me awake?”
I stuck out my pinky as an offering and he gladly accepted.
“Deal,” he said.
“So aren’t you going to miss having mommy and daddy to yourself?” he whispered.
“Nope. I can share. I’m nice like that.” My five-year-old self answered matter-of-factly.
“I know you are, but this will be different. Mommy will have to spend tons of time with the baby.”
“I know. Babies need help a lot. Mommy said I could help.”
An hour later, Daddy proudly sauntered into the lobby. He easily picked me up and held me close to his chest. I could hear the steady beating of his heart and feel the soft cotton of his shirt against my cheek.
“Can we see her now?” I murmured, wrapping my arms around his neck.
“Sure. Let’s go see the little munchkin. But I’m going to warn you, she has big brown eyes. Try not to get lost in them.” He joked and carried me towards the room, grandpa trailing behind us.
When we entered the room, I immediately ran to the crib in the corner.
“Dad, she’s asleep.” I frowned, staring at the sweet little infant in the crib. I knew right there I wouldn’t get the first moment I had dreamt of.
“Dad, can’t we wake her up? Please,” I begged.
“Honey, she’s tired, like you. Just wait until the morning.”
I pouted, wiping tears from my eyes with haste. “But I don’t want to.”
Grandpa knelt down beside me.
“But you should. Because, guess what? This little girl is a present that will just keep on giving. You don’t need to hold on to the first moment you are with her, you can hold onto her the rest of your lives. You guys will always be together. One night won’t hurt. Sleep.”
Grandpa’s words echoed in my mind that night, until I finally fell asleep, my head leaning against the crib as I sat in a foldable chair. He was right. The first moment could never compare to the rest of our lives.
Sana Hameed is a fourteen-year-old writer from Texas with a penchant for writing creative fiction and shaping characters.