18 years

3MegaCam

I will never forget October 6, 1999. I don’t remember the weather, I don’t remember what we did in school, I don’t remember what we had for dinner. But I still see quite clearly before me a young boy in our kitchen messing around with our kitchen rug, his two-year-old brother toddling around him. β€žI already know!β€œ, the boy called triumphantly. β€žThe name’s Anna!β€œ

It was Anna’s two big brothers that we watched that day because their parents had gone to hospital where she would be delivered: that little girl that should become the closest I’d ever have to a little sister. Her brother might already have known her name before me but at least I already knew she was coming when her mother told me, over a vegetable lasagna one day in spring. I doubt any of the adults know this to this day but I had overheard a conversation and knew the house would be blessed with another child. From that day at the lunch table, I looked forward to her arrival and today marks the 18th anniversary of the day I got to meet her.

She is one of the few people who I’ve known all their life. When she came home, her parents let me help with taking care of her, teaching me hands-on childcare. The confidence I have today with handling kids comes from having this little girl around. I took her to children’s gymnastics when she was three, we went to the library together where she was mistaken for my daughter and when I moved out, she would visit me in my student apartments.

It’s such a privilege to see her grow up. Today, she is an instructor for the children’s gymnastics class, has read more than a library can hold and impatiently seems to wait for me to actually have a real daughter. It’s been wonderful to see her talents emerge and follow her endearing personality develop.

I have been especially thankful for never having been relegated to the β€žnot cool enough anymoreβ€œ- rank. On the contrary, she has been the most loyal visitor through all the years. It doesn’t matter what we do together – cooking, watching movies, trying on clothes, going to museums, imitating ABBA, reading Schiller out loud or studying for finals – because simply enjoying her company is such fun.

October 6, eighteen years ago, had one marvellous present in store for the world.

Happy Birthday, Anna!

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