The countdown is on. We have about six weeks until baby No. 2’s expected arrival.
Of course, I’m ridiculously excited to meet this new little person, but so much of it is still surreal. The fact that a second pregnancy goes by so much faster than the first makes it difficult for the whole thing to sink in properly. Every day, it registers a tiny bit more that we’re headed to Newbornville very, very soon.
And with each passing day, all I can do is feel my heart break a little bit more for my eldest.
Her transformation from baby to little girl is not slowing down. Every day, she’s mastering something new, saying a new word or phrase, and showing me a new part of her incredibly radiant personality. I love it. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this kid. It actually, physically hurts me sometimes as I feel my heart swell as I proudly look on while she does her thing.
Which is why I keep finding myself apologizing to her in my head: Baby girl, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry that you’re not going to be an only child anymore.
I’m sorry that I might not always wake up with a big smile on my face, feeling refreshed after a full night’s sleep, because I will have been up with your baby sister the whole night.
I’m sorry that I might be a lot more tired and have a lot less energy to do new and fun things with you every day. Some days I will, but I know, from experience, that on other days, I really, really, will not.
I’m sorry that I won’t always be able to spontaneously change our plans because you’ve suggested an activity you want to do, like stopping by the playground on the way to the bus stop before we go grocery shopping, or dipping our feet in the wading pool before we have to go home at the end of the day.
I’m sorry that I won’t always be able to give you my undivided attention while we have our lunch dates, with our matching Subway roasted chicken and avocado wraps (mine with jalapeños and pickles, yours without).
I’m sorry that I won’t be just yours anymore.
I don’t really know how it’s going to be when your baby sister gets here. But my first instinct, right now, is to only want to protect you from feeling upset, neglected or unimportant in any way. It’s all I can think about.
I know I’ll get the hang of it eventually, but right now it’s difficult for me to see how I’m going to be enough for two of you. I’ve only ever been your Mama—I’ve figured that out. We’ve figured each other out.
You’re my buddy, my companion, my sidekick. Our days together intertwine perfectly, and we’ve fallen into such a good rhythm with each other.
I guess I’m scared that this is all going to be too much for you—too much change, too much disruption, too much “newness.”
But you know what? I’ve also started to think about how you’re about to walk down a similar path to one I treaded, many years ago. I’m the eldest too, you know. And sisters, for all the many emotions we feel about each other, are pretty great.
I’m not sorry, because you are about to meet the best friend that you will ever have.
You’re not going to remember life without her. She is about to become a permanent fixture in your memory. The fact that you were ever an only child will seem strange and foreign to you, and you’ll ask me what it was like. Was I bored, Mama? What did I do all day? Who did I play with?
In her, you will find a confidant who understands you in a way no one else does. She will get you. You’ll develop your own, weird, indescribable telepathy, which will drive your parents crazy. You’ll have your personal jokes together, which you’ll repeat over and over again, because they never stop being funny, whether you’re 3 or 30.
I’m not sorry, because you’re going to teach each other so many important qualities: flexibility, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, consideration, cooperation and humility.
You’re going to get on each other’s nerves. In the same way that she will understand you in a way no one else can, she will irritate you in a way that no one else can. She will know how to push every single one of your buttons, and you will do the same to her.
You’ll teach each other the courage in being the one who says sorry first, the patience of letting things go when you know you were “right,” the humility needed to admit when you made a mistake. You’ll learn that sometimes you need to put someone else first, and that often this can bring you so much more joy than you anticipated.
I’m not sorry, because you get the privilege of being someone’s big sister.
You get to take care of someone. You get to protect them. You get to be surprised when they fiercely defend you when they feel you’re not being treated right. You get to be the one they turn to for advice, because you’ve probably been there before, recently. You get to be someone’s go-to person, for everything.
So, while I’m sorry that the era of just-you-and-me is coming to a close, I’m going to stop and decide to always remember this precious, beautiful time we’ve had together and be grateful that you were the one who taught me how to be someone’s mother. You, with your sweet, gentle nature, your enthusiastic and kind spirit, and your compassionate and loving heart.
What an amazing big sister you’re going to make. Your little sister is going to be thrilled when she finds out that you’re the one she got.