This time last year, I was in Megan’s shoes. (Well, actually, I was probably in my barefeet, because who wants to wear shoes when you are nearing the end of pregnancy and the summer heat swells around you and shoes of any kind stop acting as cute accessories and start acting as devices of torture? But I digress.) So there I was, barefoot and pregnant with baby number two, and not just a little unsure that I could really do this mommy-of-two thing.
Even though up until twenty weeks I was wholly convinced that the baby would be a boy, I have to confess I wasn’t entirely disappointed to find out we were having another girl. In fact, part of me was relieved. I may not have known much about being a mommy times two, but being a mommy to a girl? Well, I had two and a half years of experience in all things girly – the giggles and tears, hair bows and detanglers, batting of eyelashes and trembling of bottom lips. Yes ma’am, this I could do.
And all you moms of more than one are smirking already, aren’t you?
Because even though my husband’s grandmother (and mother to eight) had told me time and again that they are all - every one of them - one hundred and eighty degrees different from each other, I just didn’t get that having another girl would be anything more than same song, second verse.
As our baby toddles ever closer to her first birthday, I can honestly say that never have two children more perfectly embodied the old saying about the same recipe making such different cookies.
Were we to tally the “same” and “different” between our two, the “same” column would have these three entries: both girls nursed quickly and efficiently (thank you, Lord), both cut their first teeth at nine months, and both hated their infant car seats (those stupid “bucket” ones) with white-hot, intense, scream-producing intensity.
And that would be it.
Physically, the differences are striking, and more than just a few comments have been made that they don’t look at all like sisters. Our oldest, Dacey, has her daddy’s olive-y skin that tans easily and is complemented by every color, as well as his big, brown eyes and enviably long lashes. Little sister, Aliza Joy, is without a doubt mine, with her fair skin that is sure to freckle and green eyes behind goldeny light lashes.
What’s far more surprising to me, really, are the disparities in personality and activity.
Our Dacey is cautious, slow to warm up to new people and places, and even at three and a half, she hides her face from strangers. AJ is fearless, always on the lookout for new friends, and engaging as all get out. In fact, Dacey stayed with us in “big church” until she was eighteen months old, so loathe was she to be apart from us at anytime. AJ, on the other hand, has been in the church nursery for months now because she spent every minute of the worship service standing on my lap, scanning the faces of those seated behind us, seeking out eye contact with anyone who looked her way so she could grin at, talk to, and generally distract all who were in her line of sight.
Dacey slept fitfully for the first six months or so of life, but soon evolved into a child that sleeps so heavily, it has scared me more than once. AJ did nothing but sleep for the first three months, and then apparently decided that would suffice, and now, when she does sleep, it’s a sleep so light that a hushed conversation across the house is more than enough to alert her to the fact that she is missing out on something, somewhere.
It took fourteen and a half months for Dacey to finally walk, whereas AJ took off a mere week after her ten month birthday. Dacey is more cruel than Simon Cowell in her evaluation of my singing (Mommy! Stop singing. PLEASE!) AJ, however, can’t go to sleep without a gentle lullaby from me. Dacey is a total TV junkie, AJ won’t waste even one minute of her time on it. You get the idea.
Earlier this summer, I was sort of musing with God about how He chose to send me opposite personified in the form of my two sweet girls, and He reminded me of a passage of Scripture that I hadn’t thought about for a long time:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV)
Oh, yes. A new thing. Indeed.
He knew I needed a good shakin’ up and there’s nothing like a new thing to get me shaking. Just plump with new things, this past year was.
Each day as I watch the girls I’m reminded we’ve really only just begun to learn all God will teach us through them. I wouldn’t go back to the former things – not any of them – for all the money in the world.
It’s my prayer for your family, my friend Megan, that one year from now on some hot summer afternoon while Bean and Peanut are laughing and splashing each other in the wading pool, you’ll catch Al’s eye and one of you will ask, “Same recipe?” and the other will answer with a grin, “Different cookies,” and with a sigh that is part exhaustion and part exhilaration, you’ll lean back into your lounge chair and praise God for all the beautiful, hard, sweet, draining, thrilling new things in your new life as mama to two.
Megan is mama to the above-mentioned cookies who lives in Oklahoma and can usually be found blogging at SortaCrunchy.