To my daughter on her final days as an only child

We’re snuggled up on the couch together as I write this.  Your head resting on my shoulder, your arms intertwined with mine.

You fell down earlier while running through the hallway.  I was busy pulling your old bassinet out of the bottom of your closet, as you ran up and down the hallway, yelling with glee.  When I reached you, big wet tears were already rolling down your cheeks and you were clutching your knee.

Photo by Darian Green
And then there were four

After I soothed your tears away you asked to get into your bassinet.  You’ve been too big for it for so long now, but you were still desperate to get back into it.  Instead I rocked you, and cooed at you, and told you about the days when you used to fit into it.  Pretending to suck your thumb with your eyes half closed you smiled, laughed, and said, “I a baby.” 

Yes, once upon a time you were a baby, my baby, but now that time has passed.  You are quickly becoming a big girl, my big girl.  A new baby will be here soon.

So much has changed for you over the past two and a half years.  You have grown from a tiny little infant that was completely dependent on me for everything, into your own little person with very distinct options, thoughts, and feelings.

How will you handle this next big change, when you are no longer the center of my universe?  You once held my undivided attention, but soon, you will be sharing me with another person.  Soon I will have to be everything to a different little baby.

Will you resent me, or will you resent your little sister?  Will you feel pushed aside in those early days when so much of me will have to be given away to somebody that isn’t you?

We sat on the floor of the hallway today, me cradling you while you cried over your skinned knee.  I sat there and kissed away your tears until you were calmed down enough to get up and go back to playing.  What will life be like when I can’t kiss away every tear?  When I can only comfort you until your sister needs me more.

Will you feel abandoned?

Will you grow to hate me?

Or worse, will you grow to hate your sister?

I love you so much and I only want happiness for you.  I am sure that someday you and your sister will be best friends, if only for a short time, and you will love the fact that your father and I decided to have another child.  Someday, you will realize what a gift a sibling can be.

But how far in the future will that day be?

You will always hold a special place in my heart.  After all, you are the one that made me a mother.  It was you that I was holding when I looked over at your father, and realized for the first time that we had created a family.

That we had gone from two people that loved each other, to three people that would be bound to one another forever.

You were my very first diaper change, and my introduction to seemingly endless nights of walking, rocking, and feedings.

You were the first child that I sat in the emergency room with, both of us crying tears of uncertainty and fear.

It was your first laugh that brought me to tears, your first smile that melted my heart, and your first steps that filled me with pride and excitement.

You were the first one that ever called me mommy. 

I learned how to be a mother with you, and nothing will ever change that.  Nothing can take that away, not even this new life that will be joining us so soon.

So I will try and cherish the remainder of this time we have together, just the two of us.  And I will try and be aware of how hard these changes are going to be on you.  Just as I will now have to now learn to be a mother of two, and adjust my expectations of life, so will you.

I know that you can’t possibly understand all of that and I will try and remember to have grace with you, and hope that you can do the same for me.

This is where you learn how to be a big sister.  This little baby is going to teach you how to be everything to someone else as well, even if only for a short time.

I do hope that you remember some of this time that we spent together, just us, but I hope you don’t hold it too close to your heart, or remember it as the good old days.

This shortest chapter of our lives will be over soon.  The next one is about to begin.  Hopefully it will become our favorite one.

Just because it will no longer be the two of us, doesn’t mean the good times are all behind us.

Truly, I believe that the best is yet to come, my sweet daughter.  I hope that I am right but more so than that, I hope that you think that I’m right.

I love you, and I can’t wait to watch you become a big sister.

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