If you are a plural mother, or if you are mother of one and considering why you should (or should not) take the leap into plural-ville, and you would love a super sweet, super sentimental take on that whole going-from-one-to-two thing, you should read this super sweet blog entry about the most important mom lesson learned in 2011.
Now, let me tell you how it really goes.
So, finally after all this time, I'm finally pregnant with a second baby. This second baby was vital, as I had always wanted to be a family, and in my mind that meant Mom, Dad, and gaggle of adorable, well-adjusted children. And while being a trio was nice and all, just the one kid to me felt like someone trailing off before finishing a sentence.........
So yay, baby! Right? But wait. Holy balls, BABY! Babies burp, and drink, and crap everywhere, and they need a lot of attention. And what if this baby is ugly? Or stupid? What if it looks like a yeti or an ewok or something. What if this baby is the anti-Christ OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE????????
I'm sorry, Brooks. I'm so so sorry. Mommy is selfish and you just weren't enough. But I know better now. You are absolutely enough. I mean, we have to be nice to this baby and take care of him and stuff because I don't want to go to jail and all. But winkwink you are still my main man and that will never change.
And so Henry is born. And immediately there is a difference. If in my memory, Brooks's birth is an entire chapter unto itself, Henry's is a footnote. When Brooks was a baby, it was almost physically impossible for me to put him down; to be apart from him was torture, I ached inside. Henry, however, is a veteran visitor at Grandma's house, and putting himself to sleep in his crib is old hat. And while I could admire the physical cuteness of Henry, and while I had all the required maternal urges to respond to his needs, that tug on my heart, that endless surge of love that makes you feel as though your heart could burst at any moment...well, it just wasn't there.
And that, my friends, is the dirty little secret of motherhood.
It's not that Brooks is my favorite in that I think he is better than Henry. I do not not love Henry. I do not regret having him. But Henry has the distinct disadvantage of not being first. Everything Brooks did was wonderful because no one had done it before. But now, life is busy. So you know how to crawl. So you need a bottle. Big deal. Show me something I haven't seen before.
And he does. Like what a great big brother Brooks is. Or what a great father James can be, how he totally knows the ropes now that he's already got one under his belt. I've had to understand that while having Brooks was about me, having Henry was about us. And if that "about us" part is something like me leaving him in James's care while I go out with friends and I don't have even the slightest tinge of guilt, then I guess that's okay. I'll pretend it has less to do with him not being my favorite and more to do with me being a pro at this whole Mom thing.
Because that's really the essence of it. We mistake it as not having as much love. We think because we don't ache for our seconds the way we did our firsts something must be wrong. While the two of us bent ourselves for First, Second has to bend to us now. And it must be because we have failed as mothers, not because we are finally getting awesome at it. No, that couldn't be it.
I somehow believed that every kid I had would be a carbon copy of my first. Big fat lie that was! So why would I, knowing that, expect my love for each child to be a carbon copy as well?
I suppose the politically-correct, ain't-motherhood-grand way to put it is to say that I love each of my children in their own special way and my heart just gets bigger, blah blah blah. But no one has ever accused me of being politically correct. So instead I'll say this: in 2011 I learned that crappy mom moments, awesome mom moments, one kid, two kids, twenty kids moments....no matter what moments you lost or make to treasure forever, the sun keeps coming up regardless. So take it easy on yourself and on each other. Because we are all just making it up as we go along.