Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blue eyes in an elevator

A long, long time ago, 23 years to be exact, my title in life changed. I was no longer just the baby of the family or the pageant contestant/sometime winner or even the 4H member who should never have won a ribbon in the neat nightie making division, considering that my mother really made the one that I actually entered in the competition.

In January 1986, I became an aunt. At nine years old, it was a strange occurrence. I distinctly remember how hurt I was that I was not allowed into the labor and delivery ward to visit my adult sister as she waited for her baby girl. At one point, my mother allowed me to try to sneak in, but a nurse popped in almost immediately and gave me the stink eye, sending me scurrying back to the waiting room. I cried. My oldest sister Allyson was in her car, a blue 280 ZX, natch, laying down with a migraine. Dinky (Erin) was 12, so she was allowed in to visit Gin. Not me. Not little ol' me.

My sister Ginger had already spent one day at the hospital, only to be sent home when she just would not progress. Now we were back. January 21, 1986 would surely be the day. My mom and dad ordered a special wreath to decorate my sister's hospital room door after the baby was born. It was covered in pink satin ribbon and baby notions and had a banner that said "It's a girl!" John paced nervously around every time he came out to the waiting area. I complained and moaned every chance I got that it just wasn't fair that I couldn't go see Gin. I mean, everyone else was allowed to visit her. Everyone except me due to my young age.

We waited for what seemed like an eternity with a crowd building. Finally, they came out and said we had a beautiful baby girl. We were allowed to wait in the hall near the elevator for our first look at the baby, and soon the nurse would come out with her to take her upstairs to the nursery. The elevator was crammed full of family and friends there to see this miracle. Everyone loaded on, and Aunt Dinky and Aunt Dusty got to stand a protective watch over this new gift on her very first elevator ride. She stared intently back and forth between Dinky and me, like she knew us already. Big beautiful blue eyes. 21" long. No clue what the weight was. Cut me some slack. I was nine.

On January 21, 1986, Miss Brittany Lynn Salassi joined the world. I still can't believe our blue-eyed, elevator ridin' baby is 23. Now excuse me while I go bust a cry.

Happy birthday, baby!!

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