Janine sat on the living room floor, stacking blocks into a tall tower. She looked up at her grandmother, who was reading a book on the couch. "Mimi," Janine asked, a serious look crossing her small face. "When is Mommy coming home?"
"She will be in the hospital for another day or two, but she will be home soon," Mimi promised.
"With baby Claudee?"
"Yes, she will bring Claudia home with her, and then you can meet your sister."
"My sister!" Janine exclaimed. "And she will live next door to me."
"That's right," Mimi said, smiling gently. "Claudia will have the bedroom right next to yours so your parents can be close to her."
"But you will live downstairs, right?" Janine asked worriedly.
"Of course, my child," Mimi reassured her. "Remember? Your father moved his desk to your parents' bedroom and my things into his study."
"Right," Janine said. "Good." She went back to playing with her blocks, stacking them until the tower topped over. She climbed onto the couch next to her grandmother. "Mimi," she asked. "What is a sister like?"
Mimi put her arm around Janine and gave her a small hug. "Having a sister is wonderful," she said. "Do you know that I have an older sister?"
"Like me!" Janine cried excitedly.
"Yes, you are an older sister now," Mimi said. "I have not seen my sister in a long time. But we are still always together, here." She placed her hand over her chest.
"But why don't you see her?" Janine asked.
"She lives in Japan. Do you remember when I showed you Japan on the globe?"
Janine nodded her head. "It is in the ocean."
Mimi's smile broadened. "You are very smart, my Janine. Yes, Japan is islands. That is where I was born, and your mother and father were born. My sister Hideyoshi still lives there with her family. I have not traveled to see her in many years."
"She can come here," Janine suggested helpfully. "And she can meet baby Claudee, too!"
"Perhaps," Mimi said, giving her another squeeze. "Now, I believe it is almost your bedtime. Why don't you clean up these blocks, and then I will read you a story before bed."
"Okay." Janine hopped down to the floor and began to pile her blocks into a nearby plastic tub. "Mimi," she asked while she worked. "Can I read Claudee stories when she comes home? Do big sisters do that?"
"She will be very small at first," Mimi told her. "But yes, I think Claudia would like that when she is a little older."
Janine smiled. She was going to like having a sister, she just knew it.