My little sister is about to have her first baby, a little girl they plan to call June.
Chelsea and her husband, Kenny, moved to Boise, Idaho, this summer, but the distance from Austin to Boise isn’t near as far and Chelsea and I have come in our journey as sisters.
(I can’t listen to this song without singing “Hey, Chelsea” instead of “Hey, Jealousy.”)
Going through this pregnancy with her, less than a year after I went through it myself, has capped off a 10-year-road that for much of the way was littered with the rocks of our differences. We threw them down at the feet of the other, inspected them, carried them and eventually placed them off to the side so we could continue on just enjoying each other, recognizing that our differences are never as different as they first seem.
Food was one of the first things we really reconnected over. As Chelsea realized she was less tolerant of gluten than she thought she was, she started exploring all that the natural food store had to offer, which led her to farmers’ markets and other areas of food I spend many hours a week writing about.
But connecting over food is nothing like connecting over becoming a mother, which could happen any day now. Her due date was yesterday, and it’s finally settling in that June will be about as close to having a daughter as I’m going to get.
As a tomboy who generally preferred hanging out with guys than girls growing up, having two boys is both exhausting and immensely satisfying. I don’t miss having a girl as much as I thought I would, but as a niece, I know the sweet, borderline parental relationships that I have with my aunts and uncles. Thinking about that special bond that June and I will form over the course of the rest of our lives makes waiting for her arrival seem like a Christmas Eve stuck on repeat.
It just so happens that I think of Christmas Eve as mine and Chelsea’s holiday. Like most siblings, we have many holiday rituals, but none as special as watching “All I Want For Christmas” on Christmas Eve. It’s a cute, goofy holiday movie, besting “Home Alone” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” only by a tinsel thread. Chelsea and I haven’t lived in the same city for 10 years, but every Christmas Eve, without fail, I watch it and think of her, and she watches it and thinks of me.
(I can’t remember the last time we shared a bed on Christmas Eve, a tradition — like hunting for Easter eggs — that we carried on well into high school.)
I won’t get to meet June until the week before Christmas. We’ll make chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa with Julian and Avery while June sleeps in the other room. Then, unlike now, we’ll be able to look at the calendar and know exactly when Christmas Eve will turn into Christmas, but for now, we’ll wait.