Here’s a picture of my brother and me, taken last month, when I was six months pregnant.
Here’s a treat…in less than three months, instead of writing about my experiences with one little boy, I’ll be writing about what it’s like to have two children!
This baby is due in January, so I’m about seven months along. It’s been an amazing seven months; in some ways more laid back than the last time, and in some ways, more emotionally intense. I’m not worrying about the little details as much as I did the first time, which has been an excellent thing for my stress level. I don’t madly Google pregnancy symptoms or impossible questions like, “How much does childbirth hurt?” I know what the process is, and I know it’s not a walk in the park, but I also know the incredible, rewarding gift that’s waiting at the end of this short journey.
The part that’s been difficult is reconciling the fact that soon, there’ll be another amazing little person who adds to the center of our life as a family. I’m so incredibly thrilled to have another baby, but I know it means that things will change forever. Soon, my son’s whole world will turn upside down. He’ll have to be patient while the baby nurses, and he’ll have to wait while the baby gets what’s needed. I won’t always be able to give my son the attention he’s always had; I may not be available for snuggles when he wants them or I may have to attend to my other child, even though my son wants me to help him color. I know the transition will be tough, initially.
But when I get these anxious thoughts, I don’t have to go far to feel better. I only have to think of my own relationship with my brother, and soon, all the uneasiness disappears. My mom tells stories of my initial frustration with him, the fact that he needed so much attention and I wasn’t ready to let go of being the only child in the house. But soon, I started to protect and encourage him, and our relationship grew into one of incredibly close friendship. As children, we were competitive and argued, but we also spent more time with each other than we did with anyone else. We played, imagined, had sleepovers in each others rooms, shared secrets and celebrated and mourned together. We grew into entirely different people, and yet we still call each other when our lives get too challenging to handle. In fact, my brother was even my “maid of honor” at my wedding four years ago.
So, adding this new addition to my family will mean that my relationship with my son will change; he’ll now have another person in his life who’ll be his confidante and cheerleader. I’m sure they’ll have their own secrets, their own language, their own childhood memories that I won’t ever even know about. But it’s okay. It’s okay because a sibling relationship, if it’s anything like the one I have with my brother, will be monumental for them, will teach and challenge them in ways I never can, and will encourage them in ways I’ll never think of.
My brother lost power this weekend because of Hurricane Sandy. We were texting back and forth last night, and I was trying to give him as much information as I could about his power restoration (we were lucky and didn’t lose power). His phone was about to die, and to conserve battery, he wanted to turn it off. “Over and out,” his last text said.
I smiled. Many years ago, huddled under our own blankets in our own bedrooms, we’d be whispering on our walkie talkies when we were supposed to be sleeping. When finally, out of sheer exhaustion, one of us decided to sleep, we’d end the conversation with those very words. “Over and out.”
So, I hope, as my pregnancy draws to a close and my newest child gets ready to join the world, that my two children will respect and enjoy each other, love each other deeply, have private jokes and memories that will always, no matter what else happens, be truly special and important.