Distanced

When I decided to move back home after completing my degree, I knew I was also carrying my unborn baby girl thousands of miles from her father. In my mind, I knew it was the best thing I could do to ensure the health and well being of both of us.

Certainly, I knew my decision meant that Chi would know her father from afar. I’d no idea that the years would accumulate more than the visits or that she would quickly grow weary of the phone calls (poor substitution for a tender hug from Daddy or a face-to-face chat).

In the past 16 months I have watched our baby girl become a little lady. She has taken on the role of big sister and welcomed the tremendous responsibility the position places on her. She is completely devoted to her baby brother’s needs and to ensuring his happiness. Only a few times has she complained (“Mommy, I had no idea it was so hard being a big sister!”).

I keep very few secrets from her. When I was told her Daddy had a daughter just a month older than Ya, I made sure Chi knew she had a sister. She was pleased. (She believes that her Daddy – should he chose to have other children – should only have girls. And Mommy, she says, should stick to boys).

When he visited briefly in July, she was more than a little disappointed that her little sister did not make the trip. We quickly plotted to meet up in Vegas with the whole family – including her Dad’s wife and daughter. I was skeptical about whether our plans would come to fruition, and didn’t get Chi excited about the pending meeting until I was certain everyone’s tickets had been purchased.

I’ve never seen a bigger smile on my girl’s face than I saw when she walked down the isle in her uncle’s wedding and saw her Daddy and sister sitting in one of the pews. And I didn’t think a 17-month-old would know instantly who Chi was, but little Nne was equally beaming when Chi sat next to her in the pew after the nuptials.

outtake ike girls
Their connection was instant. It was magical. It was beautiful. Their too-brief encounter was filled this way: hands held, hugs exchanged, and laughs and giggles ceaselessly.

Neither her Daddy, StepMom or Mommy could interfere in the sweet exchange they shared.

U. gals

Interrupting their time together met with instant, uncontrolled sobs from little Nne, so we stood back and snapped pictures as we watched the two girls bond. They are sisters. It didn’t seem to matter that they’d never met. That Chi is being raised in an American household and Nne in a Nigerian (and bilingual) one did not seem at all an issue.

She’s the cutest girl I’ve ever seen. She loves to follow me. Did I already say she’s cute?
Sisters

Passersby must have wondered at the sight: two mothers standing nearby in uncomfortable silence while one overjoyed father hovered over his girls. For the moment, though, the outside world had disappeared and all that existed was this eclectic group we call family.
And Ya? He seemed to understand that this was an important meeting for Chi and Nne, so he kept his distance and busied himself doing “big boy things” like collecting rocks, marching, and exploring. No doubt he knew his big sister would be back to keep him in close company soon enough.
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