Today's guest post comes from a 25-year-old mother of two, as a love note to the first child who captured her heart. I'm sure other young moms of multiples will relate...
Kaiden is a week old now. Just a bare, monkey-wisp of a boy, with tiny chicken legs. I knew I would love him dearly, but I had no idea how much I would want to be with him constantly. Just like you, Zoe. I have flashbacks of your tiny little face, those jet-blue/black almond eyes, and how silly and sincere we were as parents grappling in the darkness of our first times with you.
I feel the loss that comes with this new arrival. You cannot arrive somewhere new without leaving somewhere behind. I didn't know that I would feel the loss of you, my baby, so acutely. The truth is, I feel my heart wrench every time I am feeding him and knowing him and loving him, when I see you in the background, so large and unwieldy and klutzy, spinning in circles, laughing and jumping while I soak guiltily in the pleasure of touching his little wrinkled forehead against my cheek.
The truth is, I am jealous of us — of me and you, Zoe. I remember each intimacy we had, repeating like the folding of laundry, while I take the familiar steps of bonding this baby to me. His heartbeat against mine, the fluttering eyelashes that make me want to cry out in delight — they also remind me of you.
I thought our experience was once-in-a-lifetime — that I could never ever feel that way again. And the problem is, I do. I do.
When we read together the other day, and you said "cozy, cozy" as I grasped the covers to your chin and pulled out your favorite books for us to read, I wasn't sure how much you knew about my betrayal. I still spend time with you, but not nearly as much. I am on-call every two hours at this new full-time job of feeding someone else. But I also didn't want you to know. I feel like I am lying to you, little one. I thought I could hold a place for you in my heart that would never be breached. That the feelings I had for you were sacrosanct, sacred, immovable and unique. That the experiences we had were frozen in time, like a bee, frozen mid-flight in amber rock.
With every step away from breastfeeding, you took a step away from me. So. I guess this is a two-fold process. With Kaiden, I have taken another step away from you, away from seeing you as my baby, to seeing your new thoughts about playing with friends, counting to ten, discovering your ABCs.
Every once in a while, I try to convince you that you are my baby, too. But see, you aren't anymore. You are my Big Girl, running away from me. The quasi-independent lone ranger that I continually have to corral to my bosom in order to wrangle a kiss. I secretly find solace in the times where you have gotten a little bit hurt, and curl your head into my chest like you used to.
Yesterday we had a big scare, and you did something extra-dangerous that I'm sure we will laugh about someday. I wasn't watching you for 3 seconds! I was carrying Kaiden with me and I've never dropped him faster on the soft bed to come to your rescue. I grabbed you like you were 8 pounds again — instead of your incredible 28 — and for ten minutes all I could think about was saving you, rescuing you, holding you. When Kaiden started to cry, I wanted him to be quiet. I let him cry because nothing else mattered except the fear I saw in your face. All I wanted was to be with you.
I think I saw the hurt in your eyes when I tried to read to you afterwards, after you were all dry and safe and warm, and Kaiden wouldn't stop crying. I had to adjust him, feed him, in order to go back to being with you.
I'm not sure what I'm trying to say this time around. There are moments of beauty in this process of slowly losing you. I guesss this is how it will be our whole lives, darling. For example, I have gotten to see you fall in love with your father. He is head-over-heels for you, and you adore him. As I lose pieces of you, he has grabbed the helm to make sure those pieces aren't lost, but instead are transformed into an independent spirit, a love of silliness and play. You and him together make my heart sing with joy. I listen to you from the next room where I am feeding Kaiden, and you giggle and laugh with him in a way you never have with me. And I love that.
In the end, I know that I have a few more years of scraped knees, of you crying "mommy" from your bedroom when you wake up in the morning, and of cozy, cozy time at night. If you ever need to cry, darling, I promise I'll be there. If you ever need to pretend like you are my baby again, I'll let you run back to me with open arms.