I made it no secret on here (and in my life) that I was quite nervous about expanding our family. We were a perfect triangle.
I remember taking an autumn trip to the beach house with the fairy godparents and sitting on the couch for hours, literally, listing the reasons why I was scared to have another baby. My bestie and her husband (who is also a bestie, so don’t get it twisted, babe!) do not yet have children of their own, but she is an incredible psychologist, so she was perfect for the job. She sat and talked me through it, holding my hand. And, wouldn’t you know, as I am typing this I am remembering that she did the exact same thing 10 years before, in the exact same spot of that exact same couch. Obviously the subject matter was different, but we sat on that couch for hours and hours, as she held my hand and we shared secrets and dreams.
In any case, my list of fears about having a second child was scattered. Some of the reasons included:
The repeat C-Section. I loathed my spinal the first time around, as it made me feel paralyzed and unable to breathe (and wasn’t aware that I could opt for an epidural). Selfishly, I was terrified to go through that again.
I had been warned countless times that having two children isn’t double the work, but 100 times the work. That is scary.
And then there was the anxiety; I was nearly crippled by anxiety at times during my first pregnancy, doing “kick counts” and googling things like “Does a baby get hurt by being jumped on by a 25 lb dog?” and “Do blowdryers scare babies in utero?” I also vaguely remember a brief freak out over Tonic Water and the safety of Quinine during pregnancy.
I also had a fear that I could have a crazy, wild, messy, rambunctious, high energy child. I could have a boy.
But, most of all, I feared the change in our family’s shape. We were a perfect triangle; We had our system down, we were a trio.
(*Note: In trying to come up with the equivalent word that means the same as “pair” but with three people, please be careful with the terms that you Google.)
My daughter was my everything.
(I should mention that as I typed that sentence, she just popped her head into my bedroom door, clad in pink, fuzzy footie PJs and said, “I just needed one more mommy kiss. And after you’re done writing about me, read this Ariel book I gave you. It is the best. And maybe later, I will check up on you, and sneak up on you, very quietly, and give you a new book.” and blew me a kiss.)
With my daughter, everything was magical. Her nursery was an enchanted garden. She had a tutu collection. She was dainty and delicate and darling.
I was scared to push my luck.
And so, that night, that Fall, my friend and I decided that it was clearly not the right time for me to have another baby, and that maybe, one day, I would feel ready.
And I waited. And I waited. And I waited for that day to come.
And then something happened.
We moved into a new house, in my dream neighborhood (where both my husband and I grew up) and all of a sudden, I just felt ready. It took years, but I got there.
He was conceived instantly, came out early, and I loved him instinctively and deeply.
I was not able to care for my son in the way that I had for my daughter; I was a wreck, had to be medicated which forced me to wean him at 10 weeks (after having nursed my girl for 18 months) and I completely lost it for awhile.
But, to be honest, it wasn’t because it was hard. It was never really hard having two. I realize that when some people have their children very close together it can be insane. But for me, having a second child was not harder than having one. The bright spot in a bleak year.
Slowly, though, things have changed. And if you read here regularly, I think you will have noticed a perceptible shift in how I write about my son;
Over the past year I have woken up to many people and many things. I now look at life in a completely different way and hold those dear to me closer than ever before. I tell my friends I love them every day. I try to show my husband, in some way or another, how grateful I am for him. And I adore the hell out of my kids.
Every time I pick up my son, every single time, I kiss his face. I know that despite a rough start to things, he knows that he is loved.
And just like it went with his sister, I have become obsessed with him. Even with all of his crazy antics (and, truth be told, he is literally the personification of the fear I listed above) I gush over his toothy smile and sweet kisses and how he loves to nuzzle into my neck.
And I think I kind of took this change for granted a little, as though it was a natural shift that just happens.
But it didn’t really hit me until Sunday. It was the afternoon and the whole family was in the living room, the Eagles were on the TV, my daughter, husband and I were on the couch and my son was sitting with my brother in law on a chair eating goldfish. The three of us cuddled up and my husband remarked about how cozy and nice it felt. But I didn’t feel that; I felt incomplete. It was like our family’s hole had morphed from a triangle to a square and no other piece would fit. Without my son, we just weren’t whole.
And I didn’t have to force it. Not at all.
Believe it or not, despite my depression, I don’t cry a whole lot.
Today, my son and I picked up my daughter from school in the carpool line, and when the door opened and they saw each other, they literally squealed with delight. And she insisted on sitting in the extra booster seat that is right next to his carseat, and my two children were lost in fits of giggles as I watched them through the rear view mirror. And tears streamed down my face.
This was love. Love of the purest kind. Love of the truest nature. My team.
And all I felt was gratitude.
Biologically speaking, we won’t be any new sides to our family’s shape.
But oh my word, how blessed am I that I get to spend my days with this dainty girl who never ever stops talking,
and this sweet boy, who will cause destruction at every chance he can get,
and that when they say, “Mama?” I get to answer.
I am so in love. This is what life is all about.