You know how parents of a single child are sometimes scared that if they have another one, they won't be able to love their second child as much as they love their first?
Before I had my own kids, this bewildered me. I grew up in a big family and there was so much love, more than enough to go around. Love multiplies. That's just the way it is.
Then I had Camilla. While I still knew intellectually that "love multiplies" is true, and was sure that I would love any future children just as much as I loved her, I suddenly understood why parents struggle with this sentiment. It was so overwhelming, so all-encompassing, the way I felt about my first baby, my little girl. Even when I was pregnant with Blaise and looking forward to his birth, a tiny part of me wondered how I could possibly duplicate my love for Camilla.
Then he was born, and I realized that I couldn't. I don't love Blaise the same way I love Camilla. Not at all. They're different people. I was a different person when each of them was born. And yet, trying to quantify it is impossible. Unnecessary. I love them uniquely, and there is no "less" or "more" about it. There is only being fully, wholeheartedly owned by my precious children, for whom I would do anything and give anything without a moment's hesitation.
Love multiplies. It surely does.
Camilla is our high-needs girl and I will forever be grateful that God sent us her first. For her sake and for ours. We were newbies and she forced us to prove our commitment to doing this parenting thing, to sacrificing our own lives for hers, to taking it seriously and giving her what she needed even when it felt unreasonable, which it did very often in those early months. High-strung, sensitive, complicated Camilla did well with parents who were focused, and who (after years of waiting) were grateful for the chance to have a child at all, no matter how demanding.
My daughter is beautiful, intelligent, sweet, and precious to me. I will always be grateful to have her. She was our reward for our years of waiting and she was the best reward we possibly could have gotten.
But those first two years with her were tough. I'll admit it. And our reward for making it through them? I think it's this guy right here:
I loved being a mother from the very beginning. Threw my whole self into it, passionately. But this time around I think I'm enjoying it a lot more.
Blaise will be fourteen months old on the 19th. He's been walking for a couple weeks now, and he can get around, but he still lurches - rather like he's had too much to drink - which I know I am going to miss horribly when it's gone, so I'm kind of hoping he doesn't gain competency too quickly.
Here's a video we took before he was walking well. We really need to take another one now, but I'm glad we have this one.
I watch my baby walk (excuse me, lurch) around, clutching whatever toy is the moment's must-have item, and I'm shocked by how beautiful he is to me. The soft brown locks on his head, his round belly, his small toes gripping the floor. The quickly-disappearing (woe!) rolls on his thighs. Every single bit of him: perfect.
Camilla's lean three-year-old body, her sweet smile and bouncing blond curls, are perfect as well, but I admire them with a certain detachment. Blaise's perfection is closer to me, because he's still a baby. Sure, he walks like a toddler, and he seems old when he climbs onto my lap, pulls at my shirt and signs "please." But then he settles in to nurse, his breathing slowing as his hand bats gently against my chest, and he's suddenly a baby again. My baby.
Fourteen months ago he was living inside my body, and we haven't grown so much apart yet, this small person and I. I know, this time, how quickly it passes, so I cherish his sleepy head on my shoulder, his soft sucking sounds as he nurses, his warm body next to mine in the middle of the night.
This is a gift I feel I've been given this time around: the chance to honestly cherish those things. Of course I don't always do it, of course I have times of stress, but for the most part I grit my teeth much less and enjoy my sweet little guy much more. Part of it is the awareness of how much I have to be grateful for, but I think the rest of it is grace.
And love, of course.
My first twenty-seven months as a parent to my sweet, complicated little girl showed me my capacity for love and self-sacrifice.
My Blaisey is not complicated. He's gregarious. Intrepid. Voracious. Quick to flash his ten-toothed grin.I knew I could love complicated but the past fourteen months have taught me that I can love uncomplicated too. Sometimes we have tough days, but for the most part I revel in life with my little dude.
If we are blessed with more children I won't feel hesitant about whether I'll be able to love the new ones as well. Being the mother to my two completely different, equally lovable babies has proved to me by experience what I already knew by faith.
Love multiplies. Love grows. Love begets love.
This is what it looks like.