Seconds, Part II


secondsMy husband and I always agreed that we’d have two children. I have a brother and he has a sister. We both believed that having more than one child was the best way to teach our daughter about sharing, about kindness, about patience—that the world didn’t revolve around her.

My husband also believes that the shared experience of growing up in the same house with the same parents creates a particularly special bond between siblings. We hoped that our children would have built-in best-friends for life. Of course, not all siblings are best-friends. My husband and his sister are very close, but my brother and I are not (there are also eight years between us).

Still, we had made this decision early on, and we stuck with it. Even when I felt perfectly content with my singleton. Even when I wondered how I’d ever love another baby as much as I loved her. Even when I suffered a miscarriage and thought maybe one was all we were entitled to, we pressed on. And last March we welcomed our second baby girl into our lives.

And guess what—we were right! I mean, I was wrong about it being hard to love a second child as much as the first. It wasn’t. I do. I did from the moment I lay eyes on her. But we were right about it being a wonderful thing for our first born. She is so proud to be a big sister, and never misses the chance to tell every person we meet, “That’s my sister.”

When the baby wakes up from a nap, she is the first to run up to her crib. She fetches me diapers, she feeds her, and “watches” her for me. My daughter brings the baby’s toys to her and makes sure she has her pacifier and sings to her when she’s fussy. The baby’s face absolutely lights up when her big sister walks into a room—she is by far, her favorite person.

And I’m totally okay with that. Because, I’ve discovered, there is nothing better than seeing your children play happily together. When I hear the baby laughing at some silly thing her sister has done, my heart nearly bursts. When the baby puts her head on her sister’s shoulder, I practically tear up with happiness.

And yes, I know all this super-lovingness may not last. We have already had some block-castles toppled by our newly on-the-move baby. My big girl did experience some boredom when I was still nursing. But those are the teachable moments we were sure would happen. Patience is probably the most necessary virtue when you’re a pre-schooler living with a baby and big sister is learning to muster it up daily. It’s all going according to plan. When I look back on the doubts I had about this, I realize that, while completely normal, they were silly.

Many people have, and are content with, one child. Obviously, everyone should do what’s in their own best interest. And, I’m sure, that when I have teenage girls arguing over clothes and makeup and the car I might experience a second or two of doubt that having a second child was really the right choice. (I jest, of course, but let’s be honest, you know what I mean). 

But for now, our family feels fully complete in a way I now realize it didn’t a year ago. 

How many children do you have? Did you experience similar feelings when you added another child to the family?