You…and you, too
One of the trickier aspects of parenting more than one child is balancing the ‘favoritism’ thing. Growing up as one of FOUR kids in a family fractured by divorce, I often felt slighted by such seemingly innocuous events as, oh, say, my mother buying a box of cough drops for one of us with a cough. Confession: I have issues. Because of those issues, I am pretty sensitive to doing things that are fair between the two kids.
Nothing can compare, though, to the love I felt for my first child. He was the one who made me a mother. He showed me what it meant to love something unknown, with every cell in my body. The first night home from the hospital, I laid down with him and listened to the ocean lullaby CD I’d received from someone as a shower gift – and the love poured out of me like a furnace. I wept with infatuation as my fat little baby snuggled next to me asleep. I am sure the postpartum hormones combined with the music to turn me into a ball of sap, but still, that moment will never be erased from my memory.
That’s not to say that I love my second child any less. I don’t. But it is love in a slightly different flavor. I anticipated all of her firsts, had less anxiety about my parental abilities, and could not focus ALL of my devotion on her because I still had her brother to worship. Perhaps that is why she is paying me back now with an entire chapter book of behaviors designed to make me suffer. We did not have the “lay down and weep to lullabies” moment because the older kid had possession of the CD player. Plus, she was born with a ‘tongue tie’ and couldn’t nurse well and screamed a lot because of it. She was – and is – different from her brother.
My youngest now copies my oldest, which gives her a bit of a jump on things. At 3, her drawing is fairly sophisticated. She is aware of things like Bakugan and transformers. The trajectory with which she propels forward is breathtaking. Her firsts, I now realize, are my “last firsts.” Every time she does something new for the first time, my celebration is tempered with the awareness that it will be the last time I can celebrate that first. If that makes any sense.
Recently, while driving in the car, I was lost in thought when the sweet sound of my son’s voice singing along with the radio caught my attention.
“I’d like to make myself belieeeeeeeeeeve…”
I gasped and felt a surge of emotion bubble up in my throat. This was the first time I’d ever heard him sing a song from the radio. I peered into the rear view mirror in time to catch his sister chiming in,
“..that planet earth turns slowly.”
So the spectrum goes on, my son tearing into the world head-first and my daughter following him, closing each door behind her.