A Present for Sarah

By T. S. Hettinger

(Based on a true story)

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God gave me a family, a cheerful heart and eyes to see, that I might live here happily (Children’s Songbook, 234).

Sarah watched everyone gathered around her baby sister, Hannah. The baby was wearing the lacy white dress that Grandma had made. It was so long that when Sarah first saw it, she thought it must be for her. But no, like everything else, it was for the baby.

The doorbell rang. Sarah’s face brightened when she saw Aunt Karen at the door. But then she saw the gift her aunt was holding.

“Another present for the baby,” Sarah thought. She slumped down on the sofa.

When Mom and Dad first told her there was going to be a new baby in the family, Sarah was excited. When Dad took her to the hospital to see her new baby sister, she was thrilled.

But now Sarah wasn’t so excited. Whenever she wanted Mom to help her with something, Mom was taking care of the baby. Everyone wanted to see the baby and hold the baby.

Sarah frowned. It wasn’t fair. No one noticed her anymore. Now Aunt Karen was talking to the baby in a silly, babyish voice.

“She doesn’t know what you’re saying,” Sarah muttered.

“You were sitting so quietly that I didn’t even see you,” Aunt Karen said.

“I always have to be quiet, or I’ll wake up the baby,” Sarah complained.

Aunt Karen sat down by Sarah. “It’s not always easy being the big sister, is it?”

Sarah shook her head.

Aunt Karen handed Sarah the present she was holding. “I brought something for you.”

Sarah’s eyes opened wide. “For me?” she asked.

“It sure is,” Aunt Karen said.

Sarah pulled the ribbons off the package, tore off the paper, and lifted the lid off the box. Inside she found a hair bow, a coloring book, and a pink shirt with glittery letters.

“What does it say?” Sarah asked, holding up the shirt.

“It says, ‘I’m the big sister,’” Aunt Karen said. “I have one for Hannah that says, ‘I’m the baby sister.’”

Sarah gave Aunt Karen a big hug. “Thank you,” she said. “You’re the best aunt.”

“I’m also a pretty good big sister,” Aunt Karen said.

“What do you mean?” Sarah asked.

“When I was about your age, my mom had a baby,” Aunt Karen explained. “And do you know who that baby was?”

Sarah shook her head.

“Your mom.”

“Really?” Sarah said.

“It’s true,” Aunt Karen said. “Most of the time I liked being a big sister, but sometimes I felt like the baby was getting all the attention, and I didn’t like that.”

“I feel that way too,” Sarah admitted. She picked up her new hair bow and coloring book. “All the other presents are for Hannah.”

“That’s not true,” Aunt Karen said. “Your mom and dad gave you a great present.”

Sarah was puzzled. “What did they give me?”

“They gave you a baby sister,” Aunt Karen said. “My baby sister was the best gift I ever had, until I got a wonderful niece.”

Sarah giggled. “I’m not just a wonderful niece,” she said. “I’m also a pretty good big sister.”

Illustration by Julie F. Young