Raise your Daughter

I stood in the rain under an umbrella wearing my sister’s favorite red dress. When we were younger we had promised each other one thing. If she died first I would wear her red dress. If I died first she would wear my favorite green dress. Today my sister is lying in a coffin wearing my green dress. I didn’t expect her to die so soon. My red hair hangs down my shoulders in dreads, my black boots are muddy but I don’t care. My sister was dead; a part of me lay buried with her today.

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7. Getting Ready

I woke up with the intent to do my hair, makeup and dress smartly all before Arianna wake up but I was almost done putting my red hair in a braid when she started crying. I remembered that I would need to get used to caring for a baby. If you were a mother, you never had anytime to do anything for yourself. Babies require lots of attention and it looked like I wouldn’t ever get my makeup done.

            Arianna was on her back in her nightdress, screaming and squirming around. Her arms were flailing in the air and her legs were kicking. She was in the middle of a meltdown. She kept shaking her rattle and she was turning a green color. It was official, in our family the eldest daughter would be like me and the youngest daughter would be like my sister, it was a possibility.

            I grabbed her purple baby bottle and mixed up formula. I shook the bottle and picked Arianna up into my arms. She threw the rattle across the room and continued to scream. She reminded me of her sister Robin. Robin always threw rattles and turned green when she was mad. I sat down in the rocking chair and brought the bottle to my niece’s lips. She spit out the milk before it reached her throat.

“Arianna Cora! You need to be quiet. It’s okay baby I have you. Your Aunt Zelena has you.”

            I put the bottle down and picked the rattle up. I shook the rattle and watched her blue eyes follow the silver object. When she heard me shaking her rattle she started turning her head and looking at me with big eyes. She had her Mama’s personality, magic and anger but she looked like her daddy. She had my jealousy and madness. It sure does run in the family.

            After she drank all her bottle, I watched her stare at me with her big blue eyes. She seemed to follow my every move as I placed her in her carrier and went over to pick out an outfit for her. I dug through her drawers and took out a fresh diaper; I got her black shoes and black socks. Her cheetah print tutu and white shirt with the words ‘Sassy Girl’ on the front in cheetah print. I took her out of the carrier and changed her diaper while she stared into my eyes. When I was done I tickled her and she laughed.

“Is Mummy’s little baby having fun? Is my little girl having fun?”

            I put her in her clothes before realizing that I had called myself her mommy. I wasn’t her mommy; my daughter lay buried next to her father and stepmother in the cemetery. My daughter had died only a few years ago. I put Ari in her carrier and covered her up with a blanket. I quickly put a black bow on her head and left the house. My hair was in a messy ponytail and I was wearing black pants and a green blouse that was wrinkled. I carried Arianna to the car and put her in before saying.

“It’s going to be a long eighteen years.”

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