Ever since we found out we are expecting another baby, I can’t help feeling wistful about our time with just two growing shorter. I remember not taking full advantage of our one on one time with Pip before Cheerio came along and how different it felt when three became four.
Now it feels as though we’ve had hardly any time with just the four of us, and we are going to be losing that intimate family dynamic where there is one kid per adult. And while I am sublimely happy about it, I am also a bit worried about creating a new dynamic between our kids.
Right now, Pip is special because he is the oldest. He made us parents. He gave us the chance to figure out what we are made of. We made lots of mistakes (as we continue to do!), but we learned and grew as people and as “mom and dad.”
Then Cheerio came along and changed everything. He created the first sibling bond. Our kids were brothers, a most miraculous concept. And Cheerio was special, too, because he was the youngest. Because he was a high risk pregnancy that came with a lot of fear and worry. Because he made us better parents and unlocked the extra space in our hearts that we didn’t know we had.
My mother once advised me that women often fear they won’t love their second (or third or eighth) child as much as their first. She said that when you already love a child with all of your heart, it seems impossible to think there will be anything left for the next one. But she told me something that I never lost track of: a mother’s heart will expand forever. There will always be enough love because it is totally possible to love each (and every!) kid with everything you have.
But when this new baby comes, it will create something that wasn’t there before. Just like Cheerio’s arrival made Pip into something new (a big brother), so too will this new baby turn Cheerio into a middle child. And I wonder what that will be like. And I worry what that will be like…
But for now I focus on the bond my two children have. The love and the laughter, and the hugs and the gratitude. My heart swells with joy, and I know that whatever happens on arrival of our new bean, we will expand our hearts to make room, and every one of my children will know the full volume of my heart and how it beats for them.