Wiggling her toes in the sand under the swing, she watched her little brother explore the lawn, gurgling and cooing at each new sensation. She remembered how afraid she had been when Mommy and Daddy told her she was going to have a little brother. How could they? That ruined everything! When he was born, all her fears were realized. When she was out shopping with Mommy, everyone they met immediately fawned over her baby brother, poking and tickling him, asking to hold him, ignoring her except to ask “Isn’t it great to have a little brother?” She hated him! He was stealing all of Mommy and Daddy’s time away!
Now, though, she felt differently. Something about the way he looked at her. She couldn’t help but smile. And when Mommy asked her to watch him, she felt almost like a grownup. She had said she just needed to run to the store for a minute. Trips to the store weren’t nearly as fun these days. It seemed like all they bought was canned stuff and macaroni and cheese in a box. Sometimes they went to the place where nice people gave them food for free. They had started going there when Daddy moved out of town to look for work.
Mommy sure was taking a long time. Usually she stayed at the playground with them.
“There they are”
“Hey, sweetheart, your mommy said to come get you here. Come along, we are going to get you some lunch.”
“How are we going to tell her?”
“I don’t know. Poor kid. At least the boy won’t know any better.”
“Such a shame.”