Every time this date arrives, I smile.
I remember the first time I appreciated February Fiff.
I was 12 years old and not necessarily pumped about the arrival of my seventh sibling. Mom’s massive baby bump only meant one thing to me at the time – there would be even more work to do and yet another set of dirty diapers to deal with.
I was no longer interested with the baby idea – been there, done that.
Then Feb. 5 arrived . . . and so did my new sister, Crystal.
While I didn’t think much of the idea, I was still the big sister and it was my duty to check out this new person.
I remember thinking she was cuter than the rest of them after they came shooting out of the birth canal into the clear baby beds found in hospital nurseries.
I overheard adults talking about Crystal’s big struggle to get herself out of that situation – coming out the wrong way and so mangled like a pretzel that her shoulder was disjointed in the process.
“Hmm,” I thought. “They say she went through a lot being born, but she looks pretty good.”
It didn’t take long after Crystal was born for me to find that my new little plaything was pretty awesome after all.
She was pretty darn cute. She didn’t cry nearly as much as her predecessors and she seemed to like it when I held her.
Crystal grew up, learned to talk. Then she started losing her teeth.
A teacher asked her the date of her birthday and we all heard her say, “February Fiff!”
She couldn’t muster the “th” sound.
So like all good siblings must do, we incessantly teased her about her mispronunciation.
From that day on, the special date became February Fiff.
Many February Fiffs came and went, Crystal grew older.
Early on, it was clear she was in love with sugar and dill pickles.
She loved the movie “ET,” and for years, dragged around a limp, worn-out stuffed figure of the movie’s star.
She was a snuggly child, who liked to crawl under the covers and hear stories.
She had to endure my first and only attempt at parenthood. Crystal had always been “my baby,” and then one day it became legally official.
I remember me crying in a dark parking lot after our first “parents’ night” for the volleyball team.
I remember her crying after the first nasty boyfriend broke her heart.
I remember her first car – a vintage gold Volkswagen she named Ziggy.
I remember the proud but painful day I had to leave her behind at college, to start finding her own way.
I remember standing proud as she graduated from college, holding back tears when she got married.
I was astounded when the little one in the family had her first baby.
I was scared to death when she had her second – a premature little boy who miraculously survived.
And today I smile as she is an incredible wife and mother, raising her own family and being strong in her career.
Many February Fiffs have gone by, since that first one when I met my beloved Crystal.
She’s turned into a beautiful, strong, intelligent, successful and funny woman despite challenges she’s had to face. But with stiff determination and courage, she’s always rolled with it. Not only has she always kept moving – she just keeps getting better.
So tomorrow, another February Fiff will roll around – and I’ll be thinking of the young one as she gets better with age. After all, it’s a really special day – because God smiled on that first February Fiff when he brought me my special Crystal.