Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rising Son

Dear Sweet Boy,

Your birth day is almost here. I've been waiting for this day for so, so long. I've wanted you and waited for you for years, and now that you're almost here.....I just really can't believe it. Sometimes I feel you moving and wiggling and kicking inside me that I just can't believe you're real. Before your sister was born, I had so many questions, and I have some of the same questions about you, but this time....this time it just feels different. Maybe it's because you and your sister have different triggers--you like grapes and pineapple, she loved chocolate. Maybe it's because I never imagined myself having a son. (And let's just get this out there right now: I am THRILLED to have a baby boy.) Before your sister was born, I just wanted my pregnancy to be over. I wanted to hold her and I wanted "the rest of our lives" to start right away. This time, I've tried to savor every moment. After so much time waiting for you, I didn't want to wish away a single second of this pregnancy (even the morning sickness.) I didn't want to complain, even when my back and hip pains were at the worst, because I was so afraid to jinx myself. (But letsbehonest, your mama is human, and I did complain a few times.) You might be my last baby, and I didn't want to wish away a single second of feeling you wiggling around and being pregnant. I didn't always love that you were most active between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m., but I loved knowing that you were still there. You are very real, and you have always been so very important to us.

It's a strange feeling to wake up each day and wonder if it's the day you'll be born. It's an even stranger feeling to sit and wonder if you'll be my last baby. Before your sister was born, I was clueless. I was so, so scared. I didn't know how to be a parent, I didn't know how to change a diaper. I didn't even know how to handle a crying baby. I feel much more prepared this time, but I'm also a little scared. There's been a lot of uncertainty for me with this pregnancy, and a lot of unspoken fears. How will I handle two children? How will I be able to give you everything you need, and give your sister everything she needs? Will I get to shower everyday, or even every two days? How do I change a boy's diaper? What if you have different needs than your sister? I know we will work those things out. I know I won't be able to gaze at you in wonder and fear in the same way I looked at your sister. I know that realistically, that will be okay. You will both know how fiercely you are loved and how badly you were wanted. Six years ago, my biggest parenting fears were dropping your sister or not knowing how to calm her down or forgetting to feed her. Now, my biggest fears are that you leave the house in the morning and don't know how much you are loved.

It's funny, so many parents are afraid before their second children are born. "What if I can't or don't love this baby as much as I loved my first?" The thing is, I have never worried about that from the start. The longer we waited for you, the more I loved you. The day I found out you were on your way, I held on to you and begged you to stay. I haven't ever worried about how I would love you, or if I'd love you as much as your sister, because I loved you for years before you were even here.

Realistically, I know that it will be impossible for you to truly understand the scope of my love for you both until or unless you become a parent. But I really do hope that we never let a day go by without showing you that you.are.loved. You are about to enter a big world. It's loud out here, and it's scary. Frankly,there's a lot of shit happening that is awful, terrible, terrifying...you'll get the idea someday. But no matter what, despite all that, I hope that everyday you wake up and go to sleep knowing that I will always have your back. Like I've told your sister countless times, no one will love you more than me.

I've been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about the kind of mom I'm going to be, and the kind of mom you're going to get. I'm a little more seasoned than the first time around, and a little bit ruined. I know not to worry about the trivial things, and I know that if we both spend the day wearing the clothes we wore yesterday, it's okay. It doesn't mean I'm a bad mom or at all neglectful. It doesn't mean I don't want to take care of you. I know that I will still make mistakes, because for years I've been actually parenting a child, and I know I've forgotten how to take care of a baby. I know that you will be different from your sister, and I apologize in advance for all the comparing I'm going to do--I promise I'll stop eventually. I'm not going to protect you in the same way I protected your sister. You won't live in a bubble (not that she ever did.) You'll crawl and roll and get dirty and eat pieces of cat food off the floor. You'll get bruises and bumps and scrapes. You're going to learn so many things! You're going to want to chase your sister and climb and hop and do everything she can do, and I know you will. I can't promise I'll shake off all my old ways, but I can promise you that we will have fun.

The last five years have taught me a lot, and I promise that I'm probably going to drive you nutty in some ways. I'll fixate on certain behaviors and traits, wondering if we're going down a particular road. There's a very real chance we are. There's a very real chance we're on a different road altogether. There's a lot of uncertainty up ahead. But you know what? If there's one thing I've learned in the last few years, it's that I will fight tooth and nail for my babies to get them everything they need. I will never make apologies for your behavior (unless you're purposefully acting like a little jerk, and then you will be the one to apologize.)  No matter what lies ahead of us, I still love you. I will always love you. We'll climb every little hurdle and scale every mountain. If there's one thing I've learned in the last few years, it's that on my own, I'm weak, but when I'm fighting with my babies, together we're unstoppable.

Your dad....oh, your dad. He's so excited to meet you. In the very beginning of my pregnancy, we agreed on cautious optimism. His cautious optimism lasted about an hour; I wish I was exaggerating. He was so thrilled you were coming, and he was exceptionally patient with me throughout the first trimester when I insisted on absolute secrecy. When I continued to insist on quiet and secrecy during the second trimester (we kept you a very good secret from most people for over 20 weeks!) he was a little less patient, but only because he wanted to tell everyone that you were coming. He's a really great dad. You're going to have a buddy who will help you get messy and muddy. He's going to take you on long walks and he's going to make sure you aren't afraid to go camping. He's so, so excited to meet you.

Your sister, on the other hand, has been desperate to meet you forever. When we finally told her that you were on your way, she screamed and danced and sang "baby baby baby" all over the house. She's been your biggest fan. She always knew you were a little boy, even when I had myself convinced we were preparing for another girl. I know you'll recognize her voice because she hugs my belly everyday and talks to you. Every morning she listened to your heartbeat in my stomach and told me you were still going, "popopopopopopopop." We had a false alarm with you about a week ago where we thought you were on your way. When we learned you weren't coming, no one was more disappointed than your sister. I was bummed, but she was devastated. I can't wait to see the two of you together. You really are getting the best big sister. She loves you so much already, almost as much as I do. She's been making plans for the two of you for months. Fair warning, you're booked up until  November 18th, 2022. She wants to show you off to everyone and take you on walks. She wants to show you her favorite animals at the zoo and take you to a carnival. She wants to teach you to read and talk and walk and ride a bike and kick a ball. You'll learn quickly that your sister has "leadership skills" and likes to run the show. You'll definitely have to hold your own against her, but I think that the two of you will be quite the pair.

I'm going to miss having you all to myself. It's nice to be able to eat a cup of grapes and know that they will make you dance. I close my eyes, and I can almost see your face. I know that our "mommy and me" time is running short, and I'm going to miss feeling you wiggle and squirm inside me. I've got bruises at the top of my uterus where you like to rest your feet and push, but every second with you has been worth it. It's so, so difficult to prepare a place in your heart for a baby that isn't coming, but once we knew you were here, you became a part of the family. I've jokingly called you "Nameless" and "Baby Brother" and "Some Assembly Required," but even though you are presently without a name, you are so very loved and wanted.

In a few more days, we're going to be a family of four. We're going to go to the zoo and the carnival. I'm going to get to hold you and kiss your nose. I get to make you laugh and smile and take you on long walks to the park. I'm going to miss you dancing away inside me, but I'm so excited to share the world with you.

No matter what is ahead of us, you're going to know every single day that you are loved. You have two parents who are already in love with you, a big sister who is crazy about you, and an large extended family who can't wait to meet you. What a lucky, loved little boy you are!

And trust me, sweet angel. No one loves you more than me.

Love, Mom

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