She’s been making artwork for the brother she doesn’t yet have, the one that she wants, the one that we want, too.
When Ken and I talk about the home study process over dinner, about the paperwork and the fingerprinting and the education seminars, she takes a bite of her apple and asks when he’s coming.
Someday, we say.
I think he’s going to come tomorrow, she says.
We’ve been reading books. Rosie’s Family, Over the Moon, We Belong Together, I Wished For You. I close the book and turn off the lights and tuck in the blankets and she whispers that she is going to write him a book, too, a great one, as soon as we wake up in the morning.
Then I can teach him how to be a baby, she says.
She does write him a book. We do it together. She gathers her art and I type her sentences into Blurb – long and winding sentences about slugs and Walgreen’s and a maiden rocket ship voyage. We take breaks for cashews as I scan in more of her drawings, and she asks what we should call it.
The book? I ask.
No, the baby, she says.
I think we’d like to call him Walden. Do you like it?
I love it! she says.
If I am flying in my rocketship (this is a picture of a rocketship), then I will leave outer space when you cry and I will tell my mom and dad that you are crying and then I will get back in my rocketship and go to outer space until you are not crying anymore.
Then we will go to Walgreen’s.
Do you think he’s going to like it? she asks while we upload her art, while we type in her words, while we customize our cover, while we click ‘Publish’, while we wait.
I think he’s going to love it, I say.
A week later, the package arrives. It’s her book – our book – beautifully printed and bound, wrapped with care. I call for Bee to come open it, to come see her handiwork, and she beams with pride as we share each glossy page with Ken.
It took forever to get here, she says.
I know what she means.
p.s. This is an essay for Blurb, book printer of one-of-a-kind memories and beyond. Thanks for reading!