The year was 1995, and my mom had just come to the end of a difficult pregnancy. We were still in the midst of trying to pick baby names, and we [my dad, my grandmother, my aunt, my brother and I] piled into our new purple minivan [Barney the Nissan Quest] to head to the hospital. At the last minute we had decided on a name that meant "smile" and "pillar of support" for the new baby's name, and my grandmother decided on the nickname "Tisha" so she would have a name that sounded similar to my brother's name and mine [we both have names that start with a "sha"]. Shady was excited about becoming a big brother at three, I was still grappling with the idea that I was no longer the only girl in the house at thirteen ... and my dad was talking nonstop about how this was the best birthday he's ever had.
We arrived at the hospital and friends of the family came rushing up to us to congratulate us. One auntie in particular pulled me aside and said "you won't believe me until you see her, but she's just like you." And she was right. Sleeping in a bassinet in the nursery was a face I could recognize anywhere, a face I have seen since the first time I looked in a mirror. She was lighter skinned, but she had my same ringlets of hair, and she had my furrowed brows [my parents said I was born contemplative, thus the furrowed brows]. And I decided that she was mine, all mine. That no one was going to get between us, and there would never be any sibling jealousy to make us fight. I loved her at first sight.
Shady meanwhile couldn't wait to get his hands on her, to rock her in his arms, and to tickle her until she giggled. He had finally found someone to play with who wasn't always kicking him out of the room for being too small. I think he fell in love with her at first sight too.
And it's hard not to love her. She has a smile that brightens everyone's day. She is the most photogenic of the three siblings.
She would make us giggle when she was trying to be coy.
And she has always been our pretty pretty princess.
Happy Birthday Baby Catush,
from your Apush and Bhaiyush