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Afraid My Heart Will...

Afraid My Heart Will Just Stop

I did not give birth to the love of my life; my mother did, although that changes nothing, really. I don’t think my heart could take any higher level of this ridiculously big love that I feel for my four-year-old sister. There are already too many occasions where I think my heart will just stop (like that time when she fell and cut her upper lip, or that time when she fell down the stairs), so I have reasons to believe it would be unhealthy for me to experience any larger amounts of love.

I was always the kind of person who had a steady heart: no strong emotions, no breakdowns, no horrible falling nightmares. I had my life all planned out and my stuff together, my clothes clean, and my free time dedicated to myself. I was never a fan of kids or the messy lifestyle that comes with them. The change of heart was much unexpected, surprising, and intrusive, really. Suddenly I found myself changing my steady plans and my eating habits, my priorities and dreams for life. I find it very interesting that I just can’t seem to remember what my life was like before her, or what exactly were my plans for a child-free future. I believe you grow as a person once you feel obligated to succeed because someone else depends on the outcome of your life; that is extremely encouraging and extremely scary at the same time.

Now my most-played songs are from Barney’s or Elmo’s DVD collections, and my favorite food is whatever won’t be too dangerous for her to eat. My long, sharp nails have been replaced by short, soft ones, and my make-up contains no alcohol or any other harming chemical, so we can share. My vocabulary is limited to sweet, encouraging words, since she’ll repeat anything I say until it is a permanent word in her vocabulary. Even my boyfriends have to be “sister tested,” and only accepted if she likes them around, and vice versa. They also have to accept the fact that, for now, I don’t think I have enough soul to give to another child, and I certainly don’t have the extra breath.

I imagine myself a year or so from now, threatening pre-school kids who mess with my baby, pushing them against the wall, and spending some months in jail. Or maybe giving up my job and school to follow her around and make sure she’s safe and sound, all the time. There are times when locking her in the closet where I can watch her seems to tempting to me, that I feel forced to realize how crazy I’ve become. Of course, I blame it all on how hard it is to protect someone these days, specially if that someone means the world to you. I’ll have to work on my skills eventually, or else, I’m afraid my heart will just stop.

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