Lesson from a 2 year old.
For so long I worried...William was always very attached to me so I was convinced that when the baby came he would have a difficult transition. Then his accident happened which made us inseparable to the point where I couldn't be 5 feet away from him let alone in another room. This of course was always heightened when he was uncomfortable or in pain, and while he was getting better each day I was tortured about leaving him to have the baby.
After my water broke and I settled the kids into the house and William said goodbye to me as though it was no big deal - as he would have before this whole ordeal began, I was in awe. It was as though he knew that he needed to give me space. He knew that it was time for me to go and focus on bringing his brother into the world.
And so it seems that he continues to amaze me with his understanding. He has been nothing less than excited about his new baby brother who he calls "Hengwy." He loves to kiss his head, touch his toes and he thinks all the noises he makes are "very funny." While I expected him to be jealous and territorial, he instead is happy to find a snuggle spot around Henry when he is nursing and the three of us hang out as we have been for the past month only Henry is real to us now and not just a stranger in my belly.
Henry is a very sweet and quiet boy. From the moment he was born, I was worried that he wasn't crying loud enough. Even when he is hungry or needs a diaper change, his cues are much more tempered than I remember of Catherine and William as infants. Given the boisterous personalities of his older siblings, I suspect that Henry will be the more cerebral, thoughtful and quiet one of the bunch but who knows it's kind of early to tell...and nonetheless fun to guess.
It certainly is busy in my house and there are times when I'll admit it is overwhelming...a 4 year old who needs the attention she hasn't had from me in over a month now, a 2 year old who has been through a traumatic event and is still healing, an infant, and then there is Mom who has entered this all sleep deprived and is having a hard time catching up co sleeping with a toddler and infant. Still, this all seems manageable given what we went through with William. Nothing is better than having my family all in the house together and healthy. While I would like to say that everything happens for a reason, I cannot think of a way to justify the pain that I had to watch my child go through. Still, I suppose I can try and find the good in the situation and that most certainly is my ability to savor and appreciate the present moment for as chaotic as it seems I know I will never have this time back again: Catherine suddenly a big girl who insisted this morning that breakfast had to wait because she needed to fold her baby doll's clothes, William, the goofball, who thought it was really funny to eat dinner with his hands over his eyes while I fed him and Henry who is so tiny and perfect and delicious with his newborn smell. It has taken three kids and a rough month for me to learn the art of focusing on the present. Now as I kiss Henry's full head of dark hair, I remember doing the same with his brother and sister and while I always cherished the infant phase I have regrets of wanting it to go faster because I was so tired and overwhelmed. This time I am more tired and more overwhelmed but it can drag on because for today my whole family is happy and healthy.
I realize from the way William has reacted to Henry's homecoming that I was afraid of being able to love and care for another child. I felt that in loving and nurturing Henry I was taking away from the love that I needed to give to William and Catherine. Somehow when you have another child, your heart grows. At least mine feels as though it has swelled and I am able to love my children more than I ever have. Maybe this has more to do with seeing my family through a traumatic event followed by a 19 hour labor - somewhere in there I realized my capacity to cope, endure and love was more than I ever knew it was. Regardless, it has been William's reaction to Henry that has pieced it all together for me and with that I will sign off and sneak back into bed with my boys.