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 }

    cathy May 29, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Wow. That was so beautiful – and so true! I remember those same feelings when my second was born. It’s a wonderful and heartbreaking time.

    It does get better. Those first months (heck, that first year for me!) are so hard. It’s such a monumental transition for everyone. But, it does get easier. Brother and sister become friends, and everyone becomes a family that loves each other.

    that girl May 29, 2008 at 10:33 am

    You could not have hit the nail on the head more squarely. You described so beautifully and exactly the introduction of the second child.. Too sweet.

    nomotherearth May 29, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Perfect.

    Anonymous May 29, 2008 at 10:43 am

    love just grows and expands doesn’t it.what a beautiful post catherine.and thats such a sweet pic of wonderbaby.when i was pregnant with #3 the veins in my breast, right side,made a blue veined heart shaped tatoo.it was a constant reminder to me of how much more love would be in my family.it has since faded away but i remember those precious moments of having a new baby and how much love i had for her older siblings LAVANDULA

    twelvekindsofcrazy May 29, 2008 at 11:15 am

    So beautiful, am all choked up, again!

    Don Mills Diva May 29, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Stunning. And I’m crying. At work. Good lord can you write.

    Des May 29, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Uh… hello! Pregnant lady here with a 1 year old daughter! Stop making me cry at work!

    Amy May 29, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Wiping the tears from my eyes.

    DAMN you said it.

    Carrie May 29, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Sob!

    Mommato2 May 29, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful and written from the depths of your very soul. Bad idea to read this post at work. I can totally remember that feeling when baby number two came along. Hope you heal quickly.
    xoxoxo

    Jenn May 29, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    How beautiful !

    Mama Luxe May 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    My little girl is the light of my life and baby boy is due right around her 2nd birthday…

    Dee May 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Exactly how I’ve felt for the last two months since my second was born.

    Pgoodness May 29, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Wow. If I could see through my tear-filled eyes, I might be able to post something eloquent. Meh, probably not.

    That was BEAUTIFUL.

    And I hope your body heals very soon.

    Sadie May 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Found you from Zoot, and I have to say…

    I don’t have any children, but this post is wonderful and amazing and beautiful and my eyes are filled with tears for the children I may or may not have one day.

    Thank you for your words.

    TheHMC May 29, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Ah.. you put it perfectly into words. I know that feeling that you speak of. And knowing that I won’t be having any more children…this made me ache.

    Lovely blog, by the way. And, from one mom to another… enjoy those post partum hormones-even with the big helping of mush ;) .

    Elizabeth May 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Oh boy, Catherine, did you put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes with this post. I look at Kaitlyn sleeping, a big 2.5 year old, so close to leaving toddlerhood behind and becoming a big girl, and it makes me ache, makes me wish she would just STAY SMALL.

    Your Speed Racer both had me racing through to the end, I’m so sorry for the tearing and the scariness but OH, is he a handsome baby! I’m so glad both of you are okay :)

    ewe are here May 29, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Exactly.

    Exactly.

    mommylicious May 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    WOW…that was incredible Catherine! I still go in and watch my oldest son, who is almost 14, sleeping (shhh….don’t tell!) and remember holding him close as an infant….and my baby, who is now almost 4, I cherish every moment with her and try so hard to take note of everything–knowing it goes by so fast!!!

    Miss Merry Sunshine May 29, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Well damn, thanks for making me cry at work. Yes it’s your fault not PMS…very sweet. I do not go watch my 13 year old boy sleep, I’m afraid of what I will find *shudder*

    BOSSY May 29, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Darling!!!! Bossy is a little late but congratulations!!!

    supertiff May 29, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    from now on, whenever anyone starts to blather on about how all ‘mommybloggers’ are doing psychological damage to their kids by blogging about them, i think we should make them read this.

    how could she feel anything but MORE happy, and MORE loved, after reading a post like this.

    i hope your nethers are mended quickly, so you can enjoy both of your children as much as you want.

    Ree May 29, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Love and mush are wondrous things indeed.

    lisa {milkshake} May 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Wow. I only have one child, but this made me cry. So beautifully written.

    mamasnest May 30, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Gah! Tears!

    Robbin May 30, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Beautiful.

    Paige May 30, 2008 at 1:32 am

    i have never commented before but that was oh-so beautiful, and not just because i am a first-born. LOVE your blog and have for a long time!

    Schmutzie May 30, 2008 at 2:32 am

    You’re being featured on Five Star Friday:
    http://tinyurl.com/4w2evh

    womaninawindow May 30, 2008 at 8:07 am

    How poignantly put!

    Scary Mommy May 30, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Beautiful, and I have felt the exact same way.

    Chantal May 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Sniff sniff, that is exactly what it is like. Exactly.

    Colleen May 30, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Oh I’m just all in tears.

    I’m scheduled for a c-section in just a short 6 weeks. My little Zoe has no idea what is in store for us when she becomes a big sister. I’m sure my nights will include a trip to visit her little sleepy self each night.

    FishyGirl May 30, 2008 at 11:17 am

    It’s no different, really, no matter how many you have. I still go into my oldest’s room every night, still sit on the edge of her bed and see the little baby she was, the baby that made me the mother I am. And she’s 8.

    You sure do have a way with words. Add me to the tear-fest.

    Sarah May 30, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Sometimes when I am nursing my 6-week old, I look at my 2 y/o, and I miss him, even though he’s right next to me.

    Kelly May 30, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    A beautiful post. Recovering from my second birth, the best I could do was cry about constipation and thrush.

    It sounds like, rough start aside, you’re off and running with your expanded family.

    justmylife May 30, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Beautifully said! It brought tears to my eyes. I still sneak a peek in on my 18 year old when I know he is sleeping, I would look in on my 22 year old if he was here. I catch myself remembering them as babies. It goes without saying I look in on my 8 year old and cherish the few minutes of quiet I am receiving!

    pnutsmama May 30, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    argh- you can always get me to break down into tears. i’m expecting so much grief at the loss of what we are when her baby brother arrives- have been soaking her up as much as i can in the meantime, she doesn’t get it but it doesn’t matter.

    heal well, feel better.

    Amy May 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Well, this is just great! My hubby is out getting the pizza, and now he’s going to wonder why I look like I’ve been crying! Nicely put! Waaaaaahhhhhh! ~Sniff~ ~sniff~

    mothergoosemouse May 31, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Still feeling this way myself. Every day.

    iheartchocolate May 31, 2008 at 9:11 am

    beautiful

    carrie May 31, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Exactly, perfectly, honestly.

    Suburban Gorgon May 31, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Lovely, my dear. I feel the first inklings of that now, as I feel the queasiness and exhaustion of the first trimester, and remember whispering to my first born in the dark before she even had ears.

    Anonymous May 31, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I have been reading your blog for a long time and this is the very first time I have commented. This post is beautiful. It puts into words something I have been unable to find the words for. I’m Mommy to 3, my oldest is 9, then 7 and 5…two boys and a girl. I love all my children more than words can say but there is something different with my oldest. He made me a Mom. He held my heart first. There will always be something different between us… even now as he is beginning to be too big for snuggles and doesn’t always want to share his hugs especially around his friends. I still find myself venturing into his room as he sleeps just to move his hair, cover him or just LOOK at him. Thank you for putting these emotions into beautiful words. Congratulations on your new little one! Welcome to the wonderful world of boys!
    Julie

    Lawyer Mama May 31, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Yes. This is it exactly.

    Laura June 1, 2008 at 2:34 am

    I have four children. I have felt the guilt, pain, and loss
    each time I added to my family. It is a part of it. But we make it through. Everyone. And it makes us better, stronger, people. It’s what makes us a family.

    Black Hockey Jesus June 1, 2008 at 2:39 am

    I kinda like my 2nd one better.

    Karen MEG June 1, 2008 at 9:29 am

    That was a heartstopping post. Your Wonderbaby will always carry that special place in your heart.

    I must remind my firstborn that he is still his mommy’s treasure… it can be difficult when his little sister is a demanding diva and the one grabbing all the attention. We sometimes take his maturity and even-temper for granted and I would never want him to feel lost in the shuffle.

    thanks for this, HBM

    Her Bad Mother June 1, 2008 at 10:58 am

    BHJ – lmfao

    Kris June 1, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Oh my God, HBM. I sit here tearing (okay, sobbing hysterically) as I await the birth of my second with a 20-month old blissfully napping in the next room. I miss my old baby already so much that my heart bursts. Is there enough love to go around? Will it break my heart when all she wants is me and I’m busy with the new baby? Will it break my heart when it’s not me she wants?

    Her Bad Mother June 1, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    kris – it will break your heart and bind it all the tighter. Your heart will expand to bursting, and then burst, and then pull itself back together into a much much bigger heart and it will heart but it will also feel so, so amazing.

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