“She’s beautiful.” I meant it. The baby in my sister’s arms was beautiful. And I wanted so very much to be happy for her. But there was a rotten taste in the back of my throat and a heavy weight in the pit of my stomach. And all I could feel was sad.
“Let’s go get her some flowers, yeah?” My husband said quickly, his arm now slipping around my waist. “Some roses for little Rose?” I didn’t say anything, so he guided me carefully out of the room, down the hall, and into a little alcove out of the way.
He turned to face me, brushing hair out of my face, touching me gently on the upper arms, giving me the bravest smile he could muster. “Hey? We okay? We alright?”
“Oh, Nathaniel,” I practically wailed. He caught me as I all but collapsed against him. “Why her? Why her? Why not us?”
“Shh, shh, it’ll be alright. I’ve got you,” Nathaniel breathed into my hair, kissing me on the top of the head. He kept whispering things to me again and again until I finally stopped shaking with the sobs. “It’s not her or us. There isn’t just one baby in the world and they chose her instead. It isn’t her fault, and it’s definitely not that little girl’s fault.”
“I know, I do,” I sighed, letting his logic calm me down, letting it give me something to focus on.
“And she’s going to need our help. Doug is gone—and your sister is…well…” he hesitated. His mother raised him to never insult someone’s family. My mother, on the other hand, once told me I could verbally threaten to kill my sister, or brandish a weapon, but I couldn’t do both at the same time.
“My sister is an idiot who doesn’t know how to raise a child. If we don’t help her out, we are accessories to child endangerment, and I just can’t live with that on my conscious.”
Nathaniel laughed, glad to see a half smile back on my face. He gave my shoulders a little squeeze. “Ready to go back in there? So we can tell our niece a happy story about the day she was born?”
My husband was a wonderful man. He was going to make a brilliant father—even if it was just a surrogate one to my sister’s kid. “Yeah. Let’s go see a baby.”