Friday, January 23, 2009

What Is No Longer


The second part of this week was almost exclusively Peabody-centered, thanks to a little cold his Daddy passed along and the imminent arrival (I hope!) of his TWO bottom front teeth. He's been grumpy and clingy and unable to eat or sleep or play with his customary wild abandon, my poor boy.

Keeping him close and comfortable and reasonably happy required heap big Mama-ness, and I constantly snuggled and paced with him all day long except in the few little minutes he'd sleep before he'd wake again, inconsolable. As always, Bean stayed near, watching, waiting, helping where she could, and accepting way less of me than she deserved.

Last night after putting a much-improved Peabody into his crib, I tiptoed into Bean's room and lay down beside her as she rested, waiting for sleep to come. We read books together until she began to yawn, then I pulled her close for a minute and whispered in her ear and kissed her squooshy cheeks and listened to her sigh. Finally I pulled myself away and arose to arrange her covers. Reaching for one last book, Bean sat up again just as I pulled her pink comforter up over her, and my hard knuckle collided with the outside corner of my baby girl's eye.

She cried from the shock of it, and the pain, and for a long time I held her again and rocked her, speaking my profound apologies into the top of her soft, curly head. She tilted her face back and looked into my eyes, and I choked out, "I'm so sorry, lovey, please forgive me. Is it starting to feel better?"

"No," she said, "But it's okay. You're still my best friend anyway, Mama."

And I cried. Much longer than for that tiny bump, and much longer than either of us felt the physical sting of that accidental impact.

I cried because the guilt of the week, the guilt of the past five and a half months of dividing myself unevenly between a tiny new baby and my FIRST baby overwhelmed me. And I realized how much I MISS my own sweet best friend and the special relationship we shared before Peabody came along. I miss being only for her and only with her each day, and I miss the simplicity of just the two of us girls, together.

I'd never, ever, ever change a single thing about my family. Peabody completes us. He's a source of joy to all of us, and as vital a piece of me as my own heart. But someone once asked me, What's the toughest thing about becoming mother to two children after having four years with just one? and while I gratefully celebrate the many wonderful, amazing changes this year and this precious boy have ushered in, the hard part comes not in what life is now, but in what it is no longer.

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  1. Beautiful Megan. I had my first three kids so close together that I didn't experience as much of those feelings. But now, with my baby nearly one, I still cling to the baby-ness of my littlest boy, who is 3 1/2. I do feel like he has missed out on some Mommy time because of his baby sister, whom he adores. Anyway, thanks for sharing this.

  2. Awww - what a sweet post. I remember feeling like that when Andy was born. Laura had me all to herself for 3 1/2 years before Heather was born, but poor Heather only got a little over 2 years before she had to contend with a baby and an older sister.
    Bean is so sweet. She probably does better with this than you do!
    PS - That's a really cute picture of the 3 of you.

  3. That's exactly how I felt when Boo was born. Love you! xoxo

  4. P.S. I cannot believe how grown up Bean looks in that photo! You all are adorable. :)

  5. (sniff) Thanks for this look into your heart. I suppose things like this make you appreciate your quiet moments together...and helps me to appreciate the quiet and cranky moments with only Mookie.

  6. Hi Megan-

    Wow, does this bring back memories. My kids are 5 1/2 yrs. apart. When my youngest was born, I assumed that my feelings would not change towards my oldest and that I would just add on a new heap of love for my little one. Now don't get me wrong, I still
    l o v e d my son to pieces but that "puppy love" crush on my kid kind of feeling wasn't there all of the time anymore and it made me worry that there was something seriously wrong with me. I mourned the loss of that feeling for a long time but somewhere along the line, you forget what it's like only having one and anything less than having both would just be wrong (not to mention, way too quiet!). You know what makes my heart flutter now that my kids are older??? Watching them play together like they're the best of friends. Makes me happy just thinking about it!

  7. I absolutely love your blog and have followed for quite some time, but I don't believe I've ever commented. Your children are absolutely beautiful, and I admire your openness and honesty. I have to say that this post really struck a cord for me, as my husband and I begin to start trying for #2 (our son will be three on 1/31/09). That's my biggest fear, a newborn baby coming in to the picture and my time being so limited with my first born, my angel, my love, my everything! I know it's only temporary as #2 gets older, but still, you can never get back that time you missed with your first. What a poignant post, that really got me thinking.

    Thank you!

    Have a great weekend!

  8. I remember this feeling when the Girl was born. That first year of being pulled two ways was so hard, and they were only 2 years apart so the Boy was still basically a baby.

    And then I remember one day, about a year later, when I realized that I had nothing to do because they were playing together all the time and having so much fun.

    They have been best friends ever since. I wouldn't have it any other way now. And, I started blogging to fill the time. :)

  9. Oh heck. This was so beautiful and honest and true.

    I have some of the same feelings, I am enjoying time with my four year old so much during the week that when we have a break from school or unexpected days off, it is an adjustment because the other kids being home totally cuts in on 'our time.' I feel a bit guilty for saying that, but I did have my time with them when my 4 yr old was a baby, then she was carted around and made to wait and make do with what attention I could give her, now the kids are in school and we are loving our one on one time together. I may have even whispered too her, 'Don't worry - they are going back to school soon!'

    Different situation, but I really do understand what you are feeling. And as a momma to 4, I really believe that Bean will not remember the times when you had to be Peabody's mama first, she will grow up to remember that you were always there for both of them.

  10. Aw, that was so sweet what Bean said to you. I know exactly how you feel.

  11. Consider each change as a first and not a last. This is a touching post, all the same.

  12. I worry about this if we have another. My little guy is 14 months old and I just adore him. I'm afraid we'll lose some of our closeness if I have another. And yet, I'd like him to have a sibling near his age (his sister is grown). Not sure what to do.

  13. What a sweet and beautiful post, Megan. Your daughter will TREASURE this when she's older. It's a great snapshot of your relationship at this stage.

    My daughter was only 2 when the next baby came along, so I didn't have quite the same experience. Still, I know what you mean. There's something so sweet and pure about mothering that first baby.

  14. My little boy is 13 months, and we're waiting for God to bless us with another one...and just yesterday I was singing a silly little song to Z that I made up for him...the words go something like "do you know that I adore you..." and so on...and I just couldn't imagine singing that to another baby!

    Thanks for sharing your feelings & your struggle- I'm sure it is a hard adjustment, just like the first one was for me.

  15. I can totally relate! Especially with a middle child! My oldest, Thomas, is more demanding of my time than Benjamin, my middle child. It's true that they are the best of friends, which is as it should be.

  16. I am reading this with tears running down my face, Megan. I can't tell you how many times I have felt the same way. Dacey was only two and a half when AJ was born - not quite as long as you had with Bean - but I still find myself missing the days when it was just the two of us. Like really, really miss it.

    What has helped for me is that AJ has finally (!) started taking longer afternoon naps, so I can do special things with Dacey while AJ sleeps. Also, I try to, about once a month, have Kyle keep AJ while Dacey and I go for a short outing, just the two of us.

    Thanks for sharing with such honesty. I know exactly how you are feeling about this.

  17. Megan, I'm crying as I read this post, and I'm not sure why?! Hormones, maybe? I don't know! I am crying about the tender long-awaited moment with Bean and then the accidental knock that left her crying in pain and shock. I have done that by accident before and always feel just so torn up about it, especially if it was during a tender moment with one of the boys (especially Arthur, actually), so that is why I think it made me cry - I can so identify!

    Going from one child to two was BY FAR the hardest transition for me, and I really struggled with it. So far, subsequent children seem much easier to add! :) Arthur is more demanding of my attention than either of the others though, still, and I think it's because he's the first. He only had me to himself for 19 months, but still, he HAD me to himself. I honestly try not to think about those days in that context, because it doesn't help any of us to think that way, and there are so-diddly-oh many more blessings now with two more babies (and a half!) than there were when Arthur had me all to himself.

    *hugs* I understand your pain. And it IS pain, though the bitter-sweet type. xxx

  18. There is just no easy answer, is there. It's bittersweet. But you will all adjust. I promise. :-)

  19. Beautiful. I felt the same when my second was born. I still feel a little guilty about cheating him out of being the Be All And End All of my world- and his younger brother is four! Even though it breaks my heart a little, I think he's better for having a sibling than 100% of me.

  20. your words are my fears and the reason I am in a "holding pattern" to have a second baby. and as much as I so very want more children and do not want my man to be an only child, I can even imagine splitting my time. thank you so much for your honestly.

  21. Wow. You put my exact feelings in words right here on your blog. Being a mommy to two is the hardest thing I have ever done, but I just know we will make it.

  22. Well, baby #3 entered our lives just over a year ago, and I feel like no one gets enough of me . . . But I also see how they play with each other, which is something that is special about a larger family (that I can't provide). My husband and I are trying to build in special time with each of them, and I cherish bedtime, when I have little bits of time snuggly time with each of them.
    -- Nancy

  23. Megan your words have once again brought me to tears. beautiful!!! I never experience this with my boys as they are only 13 months apart but as we are ttc i think about how i will feel when my 3yo isn't the baby anymore. When i have to spread myself even thinner will i be able to do it all.

  24. You just summarized all my fears about having baby #2 in this post. And now I'll go eat the rest of the black raspberry ice cream carton that's sitting in the freezer.

  25. Your lil' one is growing so quickly.

    ( Bean seems to understand at just the right, age appro level.)

    Ya done good, Mom!

    And you are DOING a great job, too.

    Being a mom is the easiest, hardest job I have ever had. Mine are 29 & 24 now, it never gets easier, just better.

  26. I can certainly relate. I was still dividing my time between my sons who were 6 years apart, when 6 years later, I had TRIPLETS. Not only did my baby suddenly become the middle child, he was outnumbered beyond belief.

    Then I worried the same with the triplets. They've never experienced the one on one like the other 2... but you know, they adapt and do just fine with what they know. As long as they are all loved, it works out.

    Terrific post by the way.


  27. what a beautifully written piece of your heart! I got all choked up reading it. mostly because I relish the sweet bedtime cuddles each night, so reading your description of it...I was right there with you.


  28. Megan - It is a pleasure to read your blog.
    Lori Lynn

  29. Oh, she'll never ever look at it that way when she grows up. She'll just remember that you love her enough to give her a little brother.

  30. What a beautiful picture of you and your babies! And what an awesome and heartfelt post--you put into words beautifully what many of us as mothers have felt.
    Hope you have a blessed week!