THE DAY THE NUMBER CHANGED

August was always one of my least favorite months. It was hot, sticky, and there were bugs everywhere. I wasn't an outdoorsy person, or very social. I would spend my summer days in the house, with the air conditioning and a book in my hand. I would spend my summer nights the same way, although I would trade the book for a movie, or some music. I had 5 siblings, all younger, though there were times they made me want to rip my hair out. I can't help but adore the feeling of having people to protect, I love having people who need me. Earlier in the year, I had found out my mother was pregnant with another baby for me to protect. I spent time thinking about all the ways I would love this baby, thinking about who it would grow up to be. I watched as people bought clothes, as we prepped what having a baby would be like in the middle of the pandemic, and how naming it somehow became the hardest task. In the middle of the night, on August 9th, the baby finally came. I was woken up by my grandmother the next morning, she woke me up with such excitement in her voice, and tons of pictures of the little newborn. My mother and step father had decided to name her Kenza, which is funny because up until that night, it wasn't even top 3. I hadn't seen my mom all day, and my impression of the baby came in poorly taken pictures and the occasional video. Due to the covid restrictions, I was unable to visit her. I had never felt such impatience in my life, I was like a child watching their mother unwrap a lollipop, I was like a road trip passenger, waiting for a rest stop. My heart was beating, I was stressed and all that kept me going were those poorly taken pictures. My stepdad was in and out of the house, giving us status reports and trying to keep our mind off it, but his efforts did not work, my mother was in the hospital for about 3 days before coming home, for 16 year old me, that was a lifetime of torture. I wanted to hold my baby sister, and kiss her, and show her off on social media. I wanted to sing her lullabies at night and to be the first one to make her laugh. When she finally arrived, the house was decorated for her arrival. Thanks to mine and my grandmother's efforts, there were signs on the doors and homemade pictures hanging on the walls. We had given the house a welcoming touch, which was something it rarely had. I was one of the first people to hold her, and I felt an immediate connection. It hit me on that day that August 9th would always be important. Along with November 11th, April 28, March 3rd, October 8th and November 14th, August 9th would go on the list of days the number changed. It became one of the days I would cherish and celebrate, because it gave me one more person to love and protect. It gave me a new piece of my heart and it became unforgettable. With that day approaching, and the time coming to celebrate the aging of my last sibling, it's hard not to get teary eyed or emotional, this is the last of them, the last time I will be able to say “my baby sister's one” or “ wow she isnt a baby anymore,” those have been replaced with “you're almost as tall as me!” and “look at how much you've grown” I used to hate August, I hated the heart, and the stickiness and all the bugs. But it's become one of my favorite months, one of my most beloved times of the year, and all becaused it changed a simple number.

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