As I lay here at the start of another 5:00 day, I can’t help but stare at your face. My first baby. Three years later, I can still see the face I stared down at the hospital during similar hours our first night. Your eyes, your lips and your cheeks are reminiscent of that infant but I cannot ignore how much you have grown since, the length of your body, your gangling toddler body, almost twice as big as you were when you were born.
I can’t fall back asleep because I know these are the last few months I’ll have the uninterrupted peace and quiet to stare at your beautiful face, just you and me, before your little brother comes.
Oh goodness, how I fear the change of a second child. I fear the chaos, the challenges of re-balancing our lives again and the long nights. But mostly, I fear the change for you. You only know of a world where it is just the three of us, you, me, and Daddy. The challenges will be greater for you as your world shifts from undivided attention to one where the baby will demand so much. One where you will have have to wait your turn to tell your story from school, one where you will have to play second string for just a little while, and one where I may not be able to run to you immediately when you need me and yet nor quite understand why so much has changed overnight. This is my fear for you.
But I also know change is a part of life. And you will eventually learn that too; though acceptance may be a bit further down the road. I wonder how much this change will change you. The transformation into older sibling – is it a defining life event that molds the stereotypical first born personality? The one that makes your kind supposedly better leaders and stronger? It must be a change for the better right? You’ll end up stronger and more adaptable, I hope deeply.
But really, there is no turning back. Being a big sister is as much written in your life plan as it is in mine to birth and raise this baby. This fear and guilt is only resistance to what is meant to be, another sign of my humanity and imperfections as a mother.
You will be one hell of a big sister. Your belly kisses and consideration for Baby are already indication of that. I am more confident in your big sister abilities than I am of being a great mother to two.
So as these thoughts run through me this morning, I stare at your sweet, sleeping face feeling guilt, so much guilt and also sadness as this chapter of our lives is rapidly coming to a close. I mourn it already but I also know it was never meant to last. Our family was always going to be greater than the three of us. You have taught me that already.
My guilt extends to the one of this baby. With doubts that I will be able to offer him as much of me as I did to you. Do I have anymore to give? I have heard from other mothers that your heart grows when you have another baby, not divides. That provides me comfort on this twilight morning as I let my deepest of feelings sink in.
My heart trembles still when I think of the day we were discharged from the hospital. As your dad was pulling the car around, I sat in the lobby waiting with you, my precious bundle, in my arms. I held you close to my chest, tears streamed down my face, falling onto your little hat, as I felt the enormity of our next steps. A grand release of the whirlwind trip to the hospital, your birth and our first days together. My heart swelled knowing you were here with us forever, and perhaps I hadn’t even realized it yet, but those tears were also tears of mourning the end of a chapter, one with just me and your dad. Our roles and responsibilities forever changed but we have been stronger and better from it, no questions about that.
My love, you will always be that sweet face in the twilight. I know this next step of our lives will give us more, and as our family grows, we will become even more than we are now. That makes the dawn of the next chapter promising.