I thought I was prepared for this.
In the four years that I’ve been a parent, I’ve read dozens of blog posts and articles about the emotional struggle the moms of one child face as they get ready to welcome another.
You’re the one who made me a mama, all the online diary letters read. No matter what, you’ll always be my first. For that reason, and so many others, you are so special to me.
They all admit to feeling fear that they couldn’t possibly love another human as much as they love their first child. Then they all concede that of course, it must be possible, and of course, they will.
Still, they’re mourning an end. An end to something familiar, something that has been their “normal” long enough that it is difficult to imagine life any other way.
It’s like when you move out of a small condo and into a spacious single-family home. The biggest part of you Can’t Wait for all the space, the storage, the yard. But when you heave that last box up into your arms, you can’t help but turn back to look at the empty condo one last time. The one that hosted your stuff, your parties, your family and your memories for years.
You know you want to move, and no one could bribe you to bring all that furniture back into a space you’ve outgrown. Even so, you blink back a few tears, and a little part of you aches deep inside.
We’re on the brink of adopting our second child, and a little part of me is aching right now.
I waited for that ache; I knew it was coming. I still wasn’t quite ready for it, though. Maybe you can never be fully prepared for that last sentimental moment before you close a door for the last time.
You know it’s the right choice, you know it will be great, and you know that no part of you will regret it … but you have to allow yourself a moment to pine for the significance of what you’re leaving behind.
So, I’m pining.
I’m pining for the ease of one child.
The way it has allowed me to work from home on a regular, consistent basis. The ease with which Ryan can be off-loaded for fairly frequent date nights. The way we outnumber him and, therefore, the way Mike and I each enjoy a beautiful balance of one-on-one time with him followed up almost immediately with a break.
I’m pining for the simplicity of our lives.
Ryan is having a good day? We go out and do fun things. Ryan is having a bad day? Not worth the struggle; let’s stay in. It’s pretty straightforward to live your life accommodating one child with one temperament.
I’m pining for Ryan’s loss of status.
The way he will go from The Most Important Thing one day to One of Two Very Important Things the next day. He is a child who thrives under my attention, and the inevitability of my divided attention is sure to be a shock to his system.
I’m pining for my time with him.
We eat ice cream for lunch, we play board games for hours, and we have impromptu picnics on my bedroom floor. He’ll wake up and say, “What if we got lunch at McDonald’s today?! Then I could play and you could work on the computer!” and I’ll say, “Why yes, that would be perfect!” We understand each other’s needs and we do essentially whatever suits us on any given day.
Pretty soon, we’ll have another little person to consider. A person who might love ice cream and McDonald’s but hate board games and floor picnics. My love for Ryan will not diminish, but our time together will. Your family may grow, but the number of hours in a day remains constant.
I am allowing myself this little bit of pining because I know it’s temporary. I know that when we meet our second child, we will feel that the missing piece of our family has been found. I know it won’t be long before I won’t be able to imagine my life without that child in it.
I have many years ahead of me to write love letters to our second child. That’s why I won’t allow myself to feel guilty writing this:
Ryan, you’re the one who made me a mama. No matter what, you’ll always be my first. For that reason, and so many others, you are so special to me.