She

May 28, 2008

I do it every night now. When it’s dark, when the rest of the house is asleep, or almost, I untangle my tiny newborn bundle from my arms and lay him down in his nest and ease my birth-battered body from our bed. I make my way – gingerly, gingerly – around the bed, supporting myself on furniture, against the walls, down the hallway, to her door.

I open it slowly, holding my breath against the creaks, and slip inside. There, in the dark, is she, my first baby. Rumpled and tangled in her blankets, her breathing slow and deep, strands of fluffy blonde hair stuck to her damp, pink cheeks, she is every inch the baby. A big baby, but still. A baby, my baby. In the quiet, in repose, she is no longer toddler, no longer little girl, no longer big sister – she is just she, my first born, my first baby, always a baby, always soft and vulnerable and in need of me, always in need of me.

I bend over the rail of her bed, and kiss her cheek, and stroke her hair and whisper nothing, everything, about how I love her so, how I adore her, how I miss her. How every nuzzle of her brother’s cheek brings a memory of her; how every clutch and suck and moment of skin pressed against newborn skin makes my heart burst for him and yearn for her; how my love for him has made my love for her grow and stretch and strain and ache.

How I love her, how I love her.

In the morning she will wake, and run past me, blowing a kiss as she clambers into Daddy’s arms, waving gaily as she embarks upon the great adventure of a new day, while I sit, constrained, restrained, by the injuries of childbirth and new motherhood (shredded nethers, ravaged nips), my new love in my arms, my new love demanding everything of me and yielding himself to me, pressing himself to me, in return. I will drink up his love, bathe in his love, as she speeds away, leaving me in her wake, grasping at droplets, holding back tears.

But it doesn’t matter, because, always, she will stop again, however briefly, and rest, and she will allow me to bend over her bed, in the dark, and stroke her cheek and tell her how I love her, my first, my girl.

How I love her.

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    { 112 comments }

    Amy in Ohio June 2, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Beautiful

    Amanda June 2, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    How beautifully you’ve rendered the love of two.

    Amy@UWM June 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Not sure what I can say that 102 people haven’t already said, except ditto. Beautiful post.

    The Mommy June 3, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Oh my. So beautiful and so perfectly expresses what I felt when my baby girl was born 12.5 months ago. I felt so guilty for missing her brother while holding her. So guilty for feeling guilty. 12.5 months later, I love her so fiercely I don’t know what to do with myself. I love him so fiercely I don’t know what to do with myself. But, yes, the first made me a mommy and the first taught me so much.

    Mrs. Flinger June 3, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I don’t even have raging post partum hormones in my body and I weep like a child.

    Lovely.

    icecreammama June 3, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I usually just lurk and I know there are over 100 comments already…but I just had to say thanks. This is exactly how I feel. My second will be four months old next week and my first is five y.o. You said it perfectly.

    Thanks.

    Mamajama June 3, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    I’m laying on the couch with my one and only baby and crying about the baby of the future. Thank you for this post.

    Haley-O June 7, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Oh oh oh OHHHHH…. Yes. Yes, I know, feel…all of this.

    Congratulations on the birth of your son! I’m late to getting here. Been struggling with my own postpartum issues (8 months later….).

    As hard as it is, it does get (even) better. :)

    Lara@Paper Doll June 9, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    This was beautiful. Simply stunning. I have a 15 month old daughter, and I do want another baby someday but I’ve always worried about sharing myself with another one. You’ve captured these feelings for the future me. Thank you.

    Karen Forest June 10, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Oh my! I am sitting at work with tears streaming down my cheeks and a soreness in my throat that I can’t shake.

    You but into words EXACTLY how I feel about my little girl. When I look at her brother (26 months apart) I can only see her at that age and I physically hurt. Not because I don’t love him just as much, but because I see the passing of time that I can’t stop.

    God's Rock Angel June 11, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I don’t know if my Mum ever did but I know my Dad did something similar. I used to talk in my sleep, so what started as a joke was that my Dad came in sat at the end of my bed and continue the conversation with me – apparently it would make sense! I’d never remember anything we talked about in the morning.

    Anonymous New York August 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I just stumbled on your blog today. As the oldest of 4 kids who sometimes felt neglected/ forgotten, this entry made me cry, even at 29 years old. But at the same time, I feel a bit better. Thanks.

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