Updated: Sep 4, 2020
One early morning, as the sun shone outside, I heard a rustle of footsteps stomping up to my apartment steps. My four-year old twin sons had a little girl by the hand. Standing near the door of my kitchen, Joseph asks, “Can we keep her, Mom?”
My other son Anthony chimed in, “Can we?”
Their big brown eyes pled their case: they wanted a sister.
“Sweethearts, you can’t take another person’s child.”
“How come, Mom? Her mother has two new babies and she has no one to play with. Can we show her our toys?” Anthony, full of excitement said.
I knelt to join them on their level.
“Show her your toys, but I’m going down to see her mother, so she doesn’t worry about her child.”
“She not worry, Mom”, he said maneuvering his hands in a doesn’t-matter-kind-of expression. “She has more babies – more girl babies.”
Anthony and Joseph took Tybe by the hand, they turned left at the end of the hallway and brought this beautiful blonde baby in to show her their toys. I quickly ran down the flight of steps in fear her mother was frantic.
Tybe’s family lived two doors down from us in a brick house. They were renting the top floor. I climbed up the brick steps. Placing my ear by the door, I listened to hear anything. I didn’t want to ring the bell and wake the newborns. I heard nothing. Not a sound from inside.
Usually Tybe’s mother, a woman wears a wig, as most Orthodox women do, would call Tybe in from the front window for lunch, or dinner; most times, Tybe played on the steps with dolls and other toys lined up and down, coloring books, which she allowed the twins to draw inside of.
I ran back to my house, not wanting to leave the children alone. The boys were arguing over who found her first.
“Mama, Joseph says he found her first and Tybe is his. That ‘s not fair.”
“It doesn’t matter who found her first. She doesn’t belong to any of you. She has parents and now she has new babies too.”
“Mom, why can’t we have her?” Joseph insisted. His eyes welled up.
I had never been presented with anything like this when I was a kid. I didn’t know how to answer.