It’s been two and a half years. We’re a team. I just can’t imagine it not being that way. Obviously there are others around – his Dad a.k.a the love of my life, for one. But there is a huge chunk of the day – every day – that we have been spending alone together for over two years. It hurts my heart a little that the dynamic is about to change.
I love the fact that I have a daughter on the way. But she’s still in the theoretical phase. Theoretically, she’s mine. I’m huge. I feel her moving around. But she’s not tangible yet. She’s not staring me in the face. She’s not running into the living room when she wakes up screaming, “HI!” I find myself staring wistfully at my child, all day long, thinking about how long it will be before he has my undivided attention again.
That brings up a little bit of guilt. How is he going to react to a new baby being around? How is he going to respond to seeing me constantly holding another child? If she is anything like he was, there is going to be a lot of holding going on. He breastfed every hour and a half for 45 minutes – for about four months. Good God.
Having kids is a constant reminder of how fleeting every stage of your life is. This stage – of being a mother to only one child – is about to come to an end. He’s going to be a big brother. That seriously makes me want to cry. I find myself wondering if he will ever remember this time we had alone together. He’s not even three yet, so I’m thinking he won’t.
I guess I’m just the kind of person that has trouble letting things go, getting older, and adjusting to changes. Yes, I am definitely that person. Just short of 10 years ago – when I decided to quit smoking – I almost didn’t because I wasn’t ready to close that chapter in my life. Smoking somehow signified youth, abandon – a period of my life that I knew was coming to an end because I was entering my 30s. That probably sounds ridiculous – and it is admittedly a pretty weird parallel to make, but at times in my life I become acutely aware of my own mortality. Becoming more aware and responsible for my aging and health was one of them.
Seeing my child grow and the dynamic of our family change is another.
I’ve been sappy like this at all of the milestones in my child’s young life; when he started to eat real food, when he started to crawl, when he started to walk. Now he is going to be the older sibling. He’s going to have a younger sister to look after. He’s going to become a teacher and co-conspirator. It’s funny that I am predominantly thinking about my second child’s existence in the way that it is going to affect my first. Is that a natural reaction? I have no idea.
There is something I have repeatedly heard from parents with more than one child – You can’t imagine loving anything as much as your first child, and then boom! It happens again. That is amazing and terrifying at the same time. I’m already walking around with my heart outside my body. I’m constantly thinking about my son – his happiness, his health. I can’t imagine that this is going to be times two, now. It’s almost unfathomable.
But at these times when I get sentimental and overwhelmed, I remember that I get to do it all over again. This little girl is going to come into my life and nothing is going to be the same. My son changed my life in a million ways. He definitely made it more challenging, but also gave me something incredible that I’m not sure I could even put into words. I get to relive all of those milestones that slipped away so quickly.
I get to have an infant staring into my eyes for hours on end. I get to see all the ways her little personality is going to unfold. I get to do it all over again – and this time, my son gets to do it with me. He won’t remember a life without his sister in it – just like I don’t remember a life without mine. They’ll get to move through their lives together.
I realize now that I’m overwhelmed by the thought of her being here because she isn’t here yet. As soon as she’s in my arms she’ll be inextricably a part of our family. As soon as they begin to grow together, my son won’t be able to imagine a life without his sister. And I won’t be able to picture my family any other way.