By second grade, I was a big sister to Nicholas Wayne. He would have been five or so, by that time. He was also born in my parent's heart, and a gift from another mother. He was my best friend growing up, even though you wouldn't have known it to hear us bickering.
When I was six, everything we did was outdoors. Bicycle riding. Hiking down by the creek. Picnics in the woods. Walking on the trails my dad had meandering throughout our property. We grew up in a little house in the woods in a world where mosquitoes and deer ticks were the only predators my parents had to worry about.
We had picnics by the creek where it seemed as if time stood still, and the world was ours for the taking. That small woods allowed our imaginations to soar. I used to always think to myself, "Picnic. Pick Nick. My parents PICKED NICK." It was one of my favorite words for just that reason.
I remember my little brother telling me one day when I was in a particularly bad mood, "Sissy, don't be such a Johnny Appleseed." What he meant by that was don't be a crabby appleton, but through and through, that was Nick. Always happy. Always wanting others to be happy. To this day, he only wants to please others. I remember whenever I got spanked (with that dreaded flyswatter), my little brother would cry louder than I myself would. He has always had a heart of gold.
As I spoke of earlier, bike rides were a part of our every day routine, it seemed. Our route on our bicycles was a jaunt around the block. A four mile country block, mind you. Those bike rides will always be forever ingrained in my mind because it is the first conscious memory that I have in which I was told about my being adopted. So as you see, I have always known the truth, which is something for which I am so grateful to my parents.
Needless to say, by second grade, everyone knew that I was adopted. It was no secret, but kids had a lot of questions. Of course, I obliged them and explained that I was not "born under my mother's heart, but in it." And I was fortunate that none of my classmates ridiculed the fact that I was adopted. I think they thought that since I acted as though it were special, it made THEM realize that too. And I have those "pick nicks" by the creek and the long, lazy bicycle rides to thank for knowing that fact. The fact that my brother and I were picked. We were chosen.