Dear Big Brother,

We used to quarrel constantly over Monopoly, but it always ended up with the oldest going first. You won. When we argued about who would marry first, who’d be the first to have a child, you won, too. I learned that it was a pointless battle; my position as younger sibling would never change.

We both presumed life would continue this pattern: oldest first. It started off that way. You got married first. Then what remained was for you to become a parent first. The game of life has turned out differently from the game of our childhood. The oldest-first rule no longer holds.

My husband and I just found out that we’re expecting a baby iy”H. Our happiness is incomplete, though; it’s marred by the pain we feel that you’re still waiting.

I’m experiencing the classic nausea and sickness, but that doesn’t faze me. I’m nearing the end of three months, and sooner than later I’ll be picking up the phone to you and telling you our news. And the thought of it gives me tremors.

I’ve discussed it with my husband and finally decided with Mommy on the best way to relate the news. I figured out when to call, tweaked the wording, and practiced my speech countless times. I don’t know how that phone call will turn out; I can only daven.

I’ll never hear your true reaction to our news. On the phone, you’ll regale me with good wishes, make a joke or two. But although you may be genuinely happy for us, I know that this will be so difficult for you.

How I wish this could just be a complete simchah for us all. You should have been the one to make Tatty and Mommy into Zeidy and Bubby. I should have become an aunt before you an uncle.

So before I make the call, I want you and your wonderful wife to know what I may not be able to express verbally. And that is that I care — I care about you and the pain you must be enduring. I daven and plead every day that you, too, should be granted this joyous blessing. I ask daily that when the time comes and I have my baby, your wife should be carrying a child of her own.

This is not what any of us would have chosen, but I don’t want our circumstances to impact on our closeness. I don’t want our conversations to be filled with awkward pauses, and things left unsaid. We all adore your wife and I’ve become closer to her than I ever thought sisters-in-law could. It would mean so much to me if we can hold on to our precious relationship, and that nothing between us should change.

Though I know it’s easy for me to talk.

Your Little Sister

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 586)