Joyful Memories from a Big Sister

Jessica Geminder Train

My life has been blessed with two beautiful children, Zoe, 16, and Ziggy, 12. They are the center of my universe and fill my heart with love and pride every day. My personal history with pregnancy and motherhood, however, predates them both to the arrival of my younger brother– 14 years my junior!

Raised as an only child, and always drawn to young children, I had longed for a sibling since my earliest memory. With high school on my horizon, that dream was fading…until in the surprise moment of a lifetime, my mom announced her pregnancy to me one summer afternoon in our upstairs hallway, fresh off a call from her OB-GYN (back when doctors knew how to operate a telephone). I remember sharing in my parents’ overwhelming joy and anticipation of this extraordinary little being, soon to join our quiet little family. They included me in all those fun and exciting baby preparations, like decorating the nursery and shopping for mom’s maternity clothes at TSS, a now-defunct Long Island department store chain. When sonography revealed his gender, I guarded that precious secret along with my parents. My mom seated me right beside her at her ENORMOUS baby shower, graciously sharing her spotlight with this beaming sister-to-be. I was so proud of her brave and selfless decision to bring forth a miraculous new life into our world, especially to start over with a newborn so many years after my own infancy. I marveled as my mom met this challenge with steadfast poise, enthusiasm, and gratitude.

Counterclockwise from left: Jessica Geminder Train, daughter Zoe, son Sebastian, and brother Damian.

At my small parochial school, my brother’s pending arrival was the talk of my classroom– which erupted with cheers and well-wishes when the main office called me down for an early dismissal on that long-awaited day. Upon my brother’s safe and healthy arrival, the fruition of our family’s prenatal journey together, we felt more than mere happiness or excitement; we felt complete.

Leaving the hospital with my dad, sun setting over us in the quiet parking lot, he gently but emotionally proclaimed, “God has blessed me with a son…I have a son!”

It was not until my brother came home that I could hold him, as archaic hospital rules excluded anyone under 16 from the maternity ward. Our connection was immediate, our hearts beating in sibling unison. My role only increased throughout my brother’s infancy and childhood, as I eagerly assumed the honorary status of “third parent.” I would become my brother’s godmother, and treasured my opportunity to care for and nurture him. His toddlerhood was an integral part of my adolescence, and taught me profound responsibility, patience, and appreciation for what truly matters in life.

Before long, my brother grew into a kind, intellegent, principled, compassionate young man, who holds fast the sanctity and dignity of all human life. He has dedicated his life to educating the public about these crticial issues, as well as protecting the unborn and women who are at risk. My brother is FFL’s own Damian Jon Geminder.

The Rev. Randolph and Donna Geminder’s story about Damian from Sheer Joy “Uncharted Joy” can be found here.

Find our tribute to our late Director of Public Education and Editor here.