There are a lot of things I expected as we look forward to expanding our family this January. Things like figuring out how to keep up with two little munchkins, how to stay sane when time becomes even harder to come by, the adjustment for Aubrey with a new sibling in her life, and important things like figuring out a name :). What I didn’t expect were the very hard emotions surrounding letting go of the life and dynamic that I have with my first born.
Our household goods finally arrived last Friday from Turkey. After two solid days of frantically trying to put things in their place and make our house livable again, I made it far enough to even set up the nursery. Once it was done I invited Aubrey to come in and see the “new baby’s” room, but as the words left my mouth tears began to well up in my eyes and I quickly made sure to let her know that it might be the new baby’s room, but all the things in it are actually hers. In my mind, even though we didn’t get to spend an exorbitant amount of time in our house and in the nursery in Turkey, seeing it set back up took me back to all those special moments I had with her there. How I meticulously picked out each and every item in anticipation of our little miracle. The first time we placed her in her crib, only to immediately pick her back up again as she burst into tears. The countless hours I spent nursing her in the glider. Bringing home trinkets from near and far, both purchases made by her Papa and me, as well as gifts given by total strangers to our beautiful blessing, which we placed throughout the nursery so she would always have things to remember the amazing places she has been.
All those things are still in a box in that room because I can’t quite bring myself to hang them up as decor for the new baby. It feels wrong, because to me, they are Aubrey’s.
A few days later Aubrey discovered a box of toys we had for her when she was much younger, and watching her rediscover all the things that she has no way of remembering, I felt so sad that she had so many wonderful things to enjoy, yet no time to enjoy them because of our hectic life over the past few years. I mourned for the time we didn’t have as a family, the time we didn’t have in a home, and for the joy she missed enjoying those things.
It’s silly I know. Aubrey has seen and done more than most adults in this world. How little it matters that she didn’t get sufficient time to play with a toy, when she got to see the likes of Cappadocia, and the Amalfi Coast, and Disney’s very own inspiration, The Neuschwanstein Castle.
I realized too that as her second birthday approaches, my baby is turning into a little girl right before my eyes. And though I have been with her for so many moments of her life so far, in a way I still feel like I’ve missed so much. It’s all going by so fast, and it’s heartbreaking. I think parents, especially mothers, must be able to enjoy their second (and so on) children a little more, because much less time is spent second guessing yourself, praying you are not screwing up, and wondering just what the heck you are really doing. I’ve thought a lot lately about how excited I am to soak up the new baby snuggles with a new confidence in my know-how as a mom that I didn’t get to have with Aubrey. How I wish I could go back and snuggle her again without worrying about spoiling her, or messing up her schedule, or stressing over my milk supply. I wish I could have all of her two years over again now that I feel more equipped and experienced as a mother.
This morning a friend prayed for me over all of this, and in her perfect prayer she acknowledged how God has so many children, yet he is able to love us all completely and perfectly to our needs. And as his children and his creation, we can have faith that he will give us that ability to love our children the same way. It was a reassurance that my heart so needed to hear.
I know Aubrey will do just fine. The child has never wanted for a thing and is so loved by so many she herself can barely handle all the loving. I know my hormones are having a field day right now, and I know we all go through this transition as things change, and family grows, and life continues on. But today I’m spending some time cherishing these precious years I’ve had with my first born. I’m thanking her for making me a mother for the first time. For forgiving me constantly for the countless mistakes I’ve made, and giving me chance after chance to be the kind of mother she needs. For all the times it was just the two of us, and without knowing it, the meaning and purpose she gave me to find the strength to get through the rough patches and challenges we’ve faced. I hope I am always able to show her how amazingly special she is to me, and how it would be impossible for me to love her more.
This picture went viral a little while ago, and it has struck such a chord with me. This mama is hugging her child while in labor with her third baby. A precious moment before both of their worlds change completely, in the most beautiful way possible. Prayers to all you mothers out there, and ALL the feels that we go through raising our littles.