Dear Sweet Second-Born Son of Mine,
The day I found out that you were growing inside of me, I was home with your brother while your Daddy was away at work. No sooner had I finished taking the pregnancy test than the two blue lines appeared — it was instantaneous. I could hear your brother jabbering from his crib in the other room and with no one else to share the news with, I burst into his room and plucked him out of his crib. Together, we danced and laughed, and I cried.
You were who we had been hoping for and who we couldn’t wait to have.
Over the next eight and a half months, I watched your brother grow in the outside world as my belly stretched with your growth within; first as a poppy seed, then as a peach, and before I knew it, a watermelon.
In preparation for your arrival, I read countless blogs, lists, and pieces of advice on how to juggle two babies so close in age (17 months, to be exact). I knew I was going to be making the adjustment from focusing on one baby to splitting my attention between two. I savored (almost) every moment with your brother thinking that soon, much of my time with him would be set aside as the majority of my attention was diverted to a newborn — to you.
And then you arrived. My heart was split, each piece swollen and brimming with more joy and overwhelming love than I ever could have imagined.
While the capacity of my heart multiplied to envelop you both, the hours in a day did not. At first, I scrambled; always on the go, trying to navigate the waters in which I now had two tiny lives to care for instead of just one. As the months have ticked by we have fallen into a routine. While I feel that our days are busy, they are now comfortable and familiar. The one thing that I did not anticipate, though, was how hard it would be to share equal attention between you both.
Sweet second-born baby of mine, I haven’t wanted to write this — haven’t wanted to admit to myself, or to others, or to you that you don’t always get the attention you deserve. Too often you receive the short end of that stick.
The thing that I underestimated — the thing that no amount of reading or research prepared me for — was that your toddler brother would take so much more maintenance from me than you do. Yes, at the start there were the constant feedings and wakeful nights that come with newborn territory. Truthfully, though, you have always been so independent and content to sit by yourself and play; this in stark contrast to your busy brother who is always on the go, always asking for this or for that, and always needing my help as he explores some new discovery.
It’s not that I love you any less than your brother. No, baby boy, I assure you that you fill every crevice of my heart with a love that would put others to shame. While it doesn’t mean that my affection for you is diminished, it does mean that at nine months old, your baby book has yet to be started. It means that some nights you only get one bed time story instead of two. It means that sometimes, “just five minutes” of independent playtime quickly becomes forty-five as I rush around marking off my to-dos.
These days, my juggling act is getting stronger and it seems that I am able to steal more moments of time for just the two of us. Soon you’ll be mobile, and the balance of my attention will once again shift; this time in your favor as I chase you around the house moving things from your curious reach. I know that you will be every bit as smart and sweet and ornery as your brother, because I can already see all of those things budding inside of you.
Thank you for your patience. Thank you for the understanding that reaches to the depths of my soul from those big blue eyes of yours. Thank you for the unconditional love you show me in that perfect smile when I steal those precious moments to just sit and be with you, my second-born.
I will keep on loving you forever.