Think & Write #73

Raising Avery

Audrey’s Perspective

I wanted a normal family.  In a sense, you could say that I almost accomplished that.  I had a baby girl and a set of two twin girls.  I then got what I wanted – a baby boy.  Yes.  Things were indeed normal until our last one was born.

While I was considered to be normal, I grew up in a strange family.  My family was strange because my older brother was strange.  While I and everyone else grew normally, my older brother Zachary only aged once every four years.  If you were to meet him, you would probably consider it to be quite strange.  For me, I have actually gotten used to it.  I grew up with the strangeness of his condition, eventually becoming a big sister to my older brother.  With the slowness in his age, he was actually my younger brother in a sense.  The oldest sibling, yet he was still the baby in the family.

Getting back to my family, my latest edition to the family changed normal in my family forever.  My youngest who was born, Avery, shared some genetic traits that were a lot like Zachary.  But unlike my older brother, her condition was a lot worse.  She aged even slower than him.  As I got to know her, I began seeing my life being relived all over again.  I found it shocking how eerily similar she behaved.  It was like another me.  Her face, her hair, her eyes.  Everything was identical to the way I looked as a kid.  To be sure, I even looked at my baby pictures.  Avery looked exactly like that.

Before getting to my special one, I will tell you about all my normal kids.  No.  Not yet.  I will first bring you to where it all began.

The story began when I met Michael.  He had everything I wanted in a guy.  He obvious had the looks, but more importantly, he had some very important goals.  He wanted to get his medical degree.  He said that he knew me from the stories that they ran on TV.  Stories of my older brother and stories of my father, since he became very wealthy. After high school and partway through college, I married him.

I didn’t want to stay at my dad’s house.  I wanted to live in a house, not a mansion.  I wanted to start my own life and raise my own family.  With that, I moved out and did just that.  My dad helped me by buying a startup house for me and Michael.  We moved in and the fun began.

Molly came first.  She arrived in June and was my normal kid.  In some ways, she reminded me of Katie, the one who babysat me as a kid.  In the way that she acted, I knew that she would be a very helpful girl when she grew up.  I was right.  But at that time, I was still raising her.  I got my undergraduate degree and Michael got his doctorate.  I still wanted a boy so I tried again.  With the money that we had saved up, we bought a bigger house to accommodate for our growing family.  I’m glad we did.

Lily and Lucy were next.  They were born two days before Valentine’s Day.  Although having a boy was a failure, they were a bundle of joy.  Lily was the super hyper one, and Lucy was more quiet and reserved.  They may have been identical twins, but they couldn’t be any more different.  Of the two, Lucy matured faster while Lily was always behind.  Molly, my little helper, really helped her little sisters out.  This was especially true when they got older.

At long last, my boy was born.  I named him Anthony.  I knew that he was a gift from God, since he was born on the same birthday as me.  Being born on April 1st, I celebrated my birthday in the hospital, and I celebrated Anthony’s as well.  He reminded me of my younger brother Timothy, only he was a little more shy and reserved.  With our family still growing, we bought another bigger house and sold the one we had.  With seven bedrooms, there would be plenty of room for our family.  The twins would have their own room, with still enough for a couple of guests.

A month later, I decided to do my mom a favor. I took my older brother and had him move in with me.  Since she raised him for so long, I wanted to do her a favor in raising him myself.

It felt weird calling Zachary my older brother.  It still does, even after all these years.  While he was older, he looked a lot younger than me.  At the time, I was 24 and he was 26.  In spite of this, he looked like a six-year old and he still attended the first grade.  At this point, I went from being his sister to being his mother.  It felt weird actually doing this since I grew up with him.  Granted, I babysat him a couple times but raising him full-time was going to be different.  Fortunately, I still had Molly, my little helper to help me with the transition.

So with that, my family was pretty normal.  Even with my “little brother” Zachary around, I considered this to be the case.  After a while, I felt bored.  I wanted one more child.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into….

That’s when she came.  Yes.  She.  This was the child that changed my life forever.  I wanted so badly to have a normal family after seeing what my brother Zachary had to go through.  I didn’t want any of that to happen to my kids.  Unfortunately, for this last one, it did.  Again.

Avery was a child that didn’t age.  At least I thought so at first.  For the first three years of her life, she was an infant.  Yes.  An infant!  I am not kidding.  The pictures do not lie.  Numerous pictures of my family, with her barely aging in each one.  The nights were long and exhausting.  Avery turned me into an insomniac.   Am I missing something?  Oh yes.  Her birthdate.  Now the doctors told me that she was actually born on February 29, 2032 at 11:59:59 p.m.  With that date being so close, they rounded it to March 1, 2032 12:00:00 a.m.  They wanted her to have a birthday every year, which was kind of nice of them.

But it didn’t change Avery.  As I said before, Avery was just like me in every way.  Of course I didn’t notice this at first.  It was much more noticeable when she got older.  That’s when she got older, since it took her a long time to achieve this.  After two years of virtually no growth, I was convinced that she had the same condition as Zachary.  I felt like it was the same condition as Zachary only much worse.  My brother’s aging was slow but Avery’s was a LOT slower than that.

The scary thing about this condition was that it almost happened to me.  I had all the same genetic flaws as Zachary did, only my genes were recessive, not dominant.  Had they been dominant, it would’ve surely happened to me.  In a way, I feel like it did happen to me.  It happened to my last child, who looks just like a clone of myself.  Whenever I’m around her, I feel like this.  It was another form of me.  What was supposed to happen to me happened to her instead.  I know that it feels weird but that’s how I feel around her.

So, where was I?  Why was I writing this again? …..Yeah!  That’s it!  I wanted to begin a record of my daughter Avery’s life.  In leaving this for her, perhaps it can help her understand who her mother was, and how much she loved her.  Avery is my fountain of youth.  My fountain of joy.  When I look into this fountain, I see my reflection.

I understand that I will die long before she’s fully grown.  Whoever is her next caregiver, I want them to continue recording this record.  They can continue where I left off, so Avery’s record will be covered in full.

So Avery dear, this is for you, okay?  I will be gone long before you really get to know me.  By the time that you do, you will really miss me.  You will still have your uncle Zachary to care for you, when he gets old enough.  Or his wife, if he’s too busy.  Whoever he decides.

Again, this record is for you, so think of me whenever you read it, honey.  In any of the entries, think of me.  In turn, I’ll think of you.  Whenever you miss me, pray.  I won’t be far from you.  I’ll be watching from heaven, so don’t think that I am gone.  I am just in a different place.

I love you very much, and I look forward to your arrival.  Your journey here is going to be a long one, but don’t let that discourage you.  You will have a lot of challenges, but don’t give up.  God gave you this body for a reason, so please make the most of it.

Live, learn, and read these pages about you.  I will see you soon.

Lots of love, your mother,

“Audrey Sara Oakendale”  (Maiden Name: Willowbrook)

October 22, 2056


©2012  K. L. Walker