In my earliest memory, I’m a nineteen-month old boy looking down into a crib. I’m standing on the carpet with my little sausage fingers wrapped around the smooth wooden bars. The room is small, but not claustrophobically so. It’s late morning or early afternoon, sunlight pours through the window and illuminates my quizzical expression.
A baby rustles around underneath the pastel-colored blankets, it makes soft whiny noises and its mouth keeps opening and closing with little wet sounds. I’m still standing there, face squeezed between the crib bars, confused. I doubt I communicated my puzzlement clearly at the time, but the question thundering around my toddler thoughts was: How long is she staying?
I had heard that someone was coming and my parents seemed happy about it. I had heard that it was my sister in the crib. But I hadn’t heard how long she planned on staying. I thought she was just spending the night, but my mother was adamant that the little baby would live with us from now on.
The brightly lit room, my smiling parents, the baby, the crib, and my increasingly confused self all fade to black at that point. Perhaps it was the realization that I suddenly had a little sister.