20 March 2006


My sister Laura had her baby on Thursday, which officially makes me an auntie for the very first time. I am not sure I could be more excited.

I flew to Los Angeles on Wednesday for the big event. My mom and sister picked me up from the airport, and Laura looked like a cute little weeble-wobble getting out of the car to greet me. We had lunch on the patio of a cozy cafĂ© called 26 Beach, then went back to my sister’s house. While Laura napped, I took a walk to get some coffee at the end of the street. There’s nothing like California weather to put me in a great mood.

That night my mom made her famous spaghetti—authentically Italian—and I took final pregnancy photos of my sister and her husband on the deck outside. They looked so happy and eager, maybe a little bit nervous too.

At the hospital the next day with my sister’s in-laws, we scurried around in the waiting room like an over-active hill of ants, trying to relax but finding it impossible. I tried to imagine what was happening in the delivery room. I prayed for my sister to be okay. I wondered what the baby would look like and how soon we’d be able to see him. I stared at the aquarium, then the clock, then the confusing sign that read, “NO FOOD OR DRINKS IN THIS AREA” hanging near the complimentary coffee.

Finally at 1:30, my sister’s husband Chris called down to report that Jake had arrived and would be passing the waiting area soon on his way to the nursery. We quickly gathered our bags, flung cameras around our necks, and went racing down the hallway like a pack of Japanese tourists to catch our first glimpse and photo of the big attraction.

Jake wasn’t big at all though. He looked so tiny all swaddled in his blanket, blinking his eyes as if he wasn’t sure what to make of this new world he was seeing for the very first time. I instantly fell in love with him.

We watched through the nursery window as Chris helped the nurse give Jake his first bath in a plastic tub the size of a shoebox. It’s amazing to realize that one day not long from now, he’ll be splashing and laughing and playing with toys. Everything Jake did—from sneezing to yawning to wiggling his feet--seemed utterly astounding to me, maybe because I knew they were a part of his beginning.

I didn’t expect it would be quite so difficult to say goodbye to Jake and my sister on my final hospital visit Saturday night. My eyes got all teary as I kissed Jake on the head and reluctantly handed the tiny bundle back to his grandmother, knowing it would be awhile before I could see him again and realizing how much he will have changed by then. It’s going to be tough being a long-distance aunt, but at least I know Jake’s got two amazing parents who will take good care of him.