** This one is about both my girls, the 2-year-old and the one on the way. **
I am almost 39 weeks (tomorrow!) into this pregnancy. I am so happy/grateful/relieved/amazed to be here. I am 1000% ready to hold our Skittle in my arms.
Yet there is a little melancholy to go along with all that happiness, gratitude, relief, and amazement. Right now, as I type this, I am enjoying my final days of being alone with Cupcake. My final days of giving her, and only her, all my attention and tickles and kisses.
I love Cupcake. Obviously. But I mean I love her. Like, love her so much it sometimes brings me to my knees. I love her so much I am often overwhelmed by it, baffled by it, unable to fathom loving any other human being as much as I love her. I know I will, I know I can, but my point is that I love Cupcake beyond all reason and I am sad that our mommy-daughter time will be changing. I am a stay-at-home mom. She is used to having me, and only me, all day long. But when Skittle arrives, things will be different. It won’t always be about her anymore.
And I worry about that. About how Cupcake will adjust to having a baby in our home, to being a big sister and a family of four. Throughout this pregnancy, I have wept countless times at the image I have in my head of a crestfallen Cupcake when I am unable to read to her or snuggle her or play dress up with her right in that moment because I am feeding or comforting someone else. To think that I may — and probably will — inflict pain upon my precious first child, however unintentional it is, breaks my heart in two. I want to protect her from feeling left out, replaced, unloved and I will do everything in my power to do that, but I know some jealousy and hurt feelings are inevitable. I cannot protect her from everything and I cannot protect her from that.
As a reasonable adult, I know that bringing another baby into this family will certainly cause some growing pains, but all’s well that ends well and I believe I am giving Cupcake the best gift possible: a sister, a lifelong companion, a friend for after her father and I are gone. I am giving her the gift I never got to have, the childhood I never experienced. But she’s two. She won’t understand or appreciate that for years.
So instead, I will prepare her the best I can right now and shower her with affection and attention in whatever way I can after Skittle arrives. Cupcake and I have read books and talked ad nauseum about what it means to be a big sister and have a baby come to live with us. She seems enthusiastic and happy with the idea. She is most excited to play in the nursery with all the baby toys. But I don’t know if, at this age, she can really understand what a new baby means. That this baby will be living with us forever. And so we have bought her a baby doll with its own stroller and crib for her to “play mommy” while I do my real mommy duties in the weeks ahead. And we have a huge box of wrapped, cheap toys that she will get, one by one, on days that are hard for her or require a distraction. And we will schedule special “Cupcake Time” with her dad or myself often. I feel prepared. I feel like, if anyone can get through the upheaval that she is about to endure, it is Cupcake. It is us.
But really? We’re just flying by the seat of our pants. Hoping for the best. Praying for an easy transition. Celebrating what is to come while mourning what is about to be lost. This is what we wanted, and we could not possibly be any happier, but it’s still hard to let go of the good days that we have enjoyed and will soon be gone.
It’s hard to embrace change, even if it’s the most beautiful change in the world.