Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dear Daughter: This Is Your Brother

To my sweet daughter, still in my belly:

This is your brother, Charlie. My little nugget. My favorite boy.

He likes to play on the slide at the park. Dig in the sandbox. Push around his metal Tonka truck that his Nana gave him for Christmas. Water the plants with his watering can. Go for walks. Pick up (and hoard) rocks. Eat cheese and blueberries. Take baths. Push all the buttons on all the things.

He likes to snuggle and be held. Watch the music video for Happy by Pharrell about 174 times a day. Kiss my cheek. Stand on Dad's belly and do a little tap dance after bath time. Read three books every night, then beg for a fourth after bedtime prayers.

He calls my belly "baby" and hugs it and gives it kisses. And sometimes he smacks it a little too hard. We talk about baby sister all the time. I'm not sure he understands. He sometimes crashes into my belly hard when he's playing on the couch. Or, when he throws a tantrum, he catches me too hard in the stomach with his little heel and I double over with a contraction.

This worries me. I look at him and see a baby. He's almost two years old, but he has chubby cheeks, squishy palms, and a round protruding belly. I don't pick him up as much as I used to. I can't. You are too heavy inside me, and he is growing. It's painful to do the thing that I like to do the most as a parent: love on my little baby.

He senses this, I think. He will turn his face up to me, pat my thigh, and announce, "Hold you."

I say, "I can't, baby." He cries.

The guilt I feel for scaling back the affection I can give to Charlie is tempered by the guilt I feel for not thinking as much about you as I did about him when I was last pregnant. Your bed is set up in the corner of our bedroom, and I'm washing clothes so that you have some waiting when you come home, but there hasn't been much nesting happening here. The house is perpetually in a state of half-picked-up. No hospital bag ready, no carseat installed. We talk about you often, but the to-do list looms in front of me and I feel helpless to do much of it.

My point is, this is your brother. Adding a new person to any family is a big deal. Each of us will adjust and make room and grow love for you. But for a little guy like Charlie, it is a complete lifestyle change. I will do everything I can to teach him to be patient with you. To be soft and gentle. To be kind. To be loving. I hope and pray you will be patient with him, too. I hope you learn to love each other. I hope you will be friends.

Your time to join us is very close.


Your mom