Diablo Views: In the Gutierrez household, the sister act begins | August 14, 2009 | Danville Express | DanvilleSanRamon.com |


Danville Express

Column - August 14, 2009

Diablo Views: In the Gutierrez household, the sister act begins

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Little Emma Gutierrez, 6 pounds 10 ounces, was born just a few weeks ago, on July 27, which is also the birthday of her older sister, Ava. Although the word "older" seems a bit strange to use in this case because Ava only just turned 1.

I met Emma at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek a few days later. It's such a joy to behold a baby who is only a couple of days old. We don't usually see them out in public at that age. How special to watch as she peered around trying to make sense of the vast surroundings in which she suddenly found herself. How different from the nurturing world of the last nine months. And how utterly content and trusting she looked in her mother's arms.

It was deja vu in a way because one year ago I was seeing Ava at Kaiser. The real draw both times was their mom, Amory. Some of you may have met Amory or heard her cheerful voice on the phone when doing business with the Danville Weekly. She is the editorial assistant here, currently on maternity leave. She edits calendar, handles travel photos, obituaries and police logs, tracks ad agreements, helps those who telephone - and so much more.

When Amory returned from maternity leave after Ava was born, her desk decor took on a new theme. Whereas for the previous year there'd been a lovely picture of her and her husband Martin in their wedding finery, now we were treated to photos of Ava, at first a tiny little baby, then growing bigger and cuter by the moment: Ava under a towel, Ava with her Daddy, Ava wearing a spunky hat, Ava in grandpa's arms.

Before Amory began her maternity leave we talked about what life would be like in her household with their two little girls, and what it would be like for the girls. I think it will be a lot of fun for all four members of their family. Hopefully Ava is too young to be truly jealous - Emma will be a fact of life, and someone to play with and enjoy. And they'll just be so darned cute together.

More importantly they can keep each other company during their childhood and throughout their lives, facing their troubles together and enjoying their triumphs. No one shares your world quite like a sibling. My sister is five years older; we've both been married for many years so our family dynamics are well-known to our husbands, but only Diane and I share our childhood memories. The interesting thing is the different takes we have on the same incidents. And I think perhaps I enjoyed wearing the sister dresses more than she did, since I was younger.

My children are eight years apart. How different it would have been if they were just one year apart. They would have been best friends. Or not. Pepe and Zoe always did enjoy each other's company. He had the advantages of being an only child for eight years. She had the advantages of having an older sibling, and it was handy for us, once Pepe was old enough, to have a live-in babysitter for her. But when Pepe went off to college, Zoe was left at home, an only child at an age when maybe it isn't so much fun. Of course we'd often include her friends in our activities. Now they live on different sides of the world but they seem to come together as naturally as though they'd just left each other yesterday. With e-mailing, instant messaging and inexpensive phone calls, it's easy to keep in touch casually.

Why are some siblings close and others unable to get along? Many factors seem to enter into it, including personalities, life choices and how they relate to the other members of the family. For Ava and Emma, being born one year apart plus both being girls, it sounds to me like the foundation for a lifelong best- friend relationship in addition to a fun upbringing.

Amory plans to return to work in late November and then we will begin to behold the chronicling of the sister act. I can see it already: Big sister Ava holding the baby, Emma. Both sitting for a formal portrait, Ava sitting up straight, Emma still a little wobbly. How nice for our office to have two babies.

Every employee comes to work with special gifts and talents and a unique personality. Besides herself, Amory will bring in photos and stories of her two little girls. How nice for all of us. There's nothing quite like an "office baby" - or two - to keep things in perspective.

-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.