The ultrasound told us another little man-cub was on the way, a brother. Dreams of little boy world with brothers exploring life together ousted my worries. While my belly grew, so did another fierce love for a yet un-met sidekick. He was born and he was amazing.
Then we came home, the hub-up died down, and I realized how life had changed. We were back at square one. I felt creeping tension of trying to split myself between two loves and I became afraid. I was afraid that I could never be enough, that being something for two meant I couldn't be everything for one. I cried for Riley as I realized he would start to hear me say, "Just a minute...." I cried because I wasn't all his anymore. He'll probably roll his eyes when he reads this. And he's right. How horrifying would it be for Riley, as an almost 20-year-old man right now, to have Momma still thinking she's his whole world??!! That's not the way it's supposed to end up and it's clear to me today. But it's so easy for our baby-induced emotions to make us forget that a successful letting go process begins on Day 1.
As soon as I was able to dry my eyes from crying for Riley, I began crying for Trevor. I cried because I had been crying about having him. What kind of mom cries like this with a precious new baby in her arms? I cried because he would never get to have me all to himself like his brother had. What kind of unfair world would he grow up in?
This was the blubbering, postpartum mess that answered the phone when my friend Diane, then the mother of four now the mother of eight, called. The highlights of our conversation went something like this:
Diane: "Hey Lori! Congratulations on the baby! How's is having two at home going?"
Me: "Gooood...."sniff, sniff....cry...." What have I done? I love Trevor so much but feel like I'm ripping off Riley by adding another baby and dividing my attention!" Emotionally wrought sob, sob, sob...
Diane: putting on her no-nonsense voice "You stop right there. This baby is a precious gift from God. You're going to be fine. Stop crying. There IS enough of you to go around. This baby isn't just a gift to you, he's a gift to the whole family. God knows what He's doing. Now get up and go love those babies, and never doubt that,
"The best gift you can ever give your child
is a sibling!"
She said it with such certainty that I couldn't help but believe it! I went through the rest of that day with my shoulders a little straighter and a smile on my face.
A decade later a funeral solidified my certainty in Diane's words being true. The service celebrated a woman who had spent a long life investing in her family. When she died her eight children were all grown and far into their adult lives. Most with children, some with grandchildren. There were close to 100 people gathered to cry together, laugh together, remember together, and just be together. Celebrating her life and the fact that it made them all family. What a fabulous place to be when someone dear to you has died - thick in the middle of a big group of people who have such important things in common with you. Stronger than the many things that made them different was the one thing that made them the same, a last name that carried a legacy. At this moment, I'm sure none of them were stressed out over how many pairs of new shoes they had as a child or how many gifts there were under the Christmas tree while they were growing up.
Out there in the cemetery, it was obvious to me that they were full of something vastly more valuable...
It's pretty clear to anyone looking at my life today that I haven't stopped believing Diane's advice. We are currently a family of ten. When Scott and I are gone from the middle of our group, it will still be a group. They will be left with some pretty important things - each other. And that's a thought that gives me a new, better reason to cry!
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