“Tomorrow, we’ll have a day of fun,” I tell my son. His small hand is wrapped around mine and his shiny hair circles in thick locks around his face. He radiates warmth, innocence and joy.??“Will you come on the toboggan with me?” ?I picture my Papa Smurf body huddled haphazardly behind him on a small piece of plastic, clinging on and gritting my teeth; the prospect of skidding into snow drifts a very real possibility.? “I think probably,” I say. “You’ll have to test out the slopes first to make sure I won’t hurt the baby if I do fall.”?
“I’ll make sure you don’t fall, Mom,” he says, looking straight up at me with those deep, strangely wise blue eyes that have evoked a indefatigable, fierce love inside my soul from the very first moment I ever saw them.? ?“I love you 10 million times the sky,” I tell him suddenly, in a rush, like I tell him every night I tuck him in. “You will always be my first boy, and the joy of my life.”
?“I love you, googolplex,” he says and reaches his arms around my neck. He is quick to embrace; not yet embarrassed by his affection for his Mom.
He perpetually wants to please; he possesses a relentless desire to do his best, to try again when he is failing at something he wants to master. He is affable and genuinely delightful to be around. I can’t imagine loving another baby as much as I love my son and it must be hormones, and maybe something else, because even the thought makes me want to cry. ??I imagine that every Mom believes their bond with their firstborn is sacred, special and incomparable. Nolan and I spent most of the first three years of his life in a cocoon of the two of us: rainy forest walks, impromptu sand-infused beach runs, digging for scuttling crabs on winter mornings.
For so long, it was just us two, and I imagined it would always be that way. In the aftermath of a painful separation, I couldn’t imagine ever sharing my love again with anyone but my golden-souled son. He was more than enough, with his moss-scented hugs and his lilting laughter, with his unspoken and fully tangible promise that he would love me when I failed, when I broke, when I made mistakes and when I didn’t deserve it.
Almost every night he crept into my bed and curled up beside me without waking me up, and each morning I woke to his forehead under my nose, filled with gratitude for my little boy who accepted me fully, while I continued to feel like I was failing at life.? ?I remember feeling some guilt when I met Corey when Nolan was just three, worried my little boy would feel shortchanged by my newly shared love. My worry went unfounded, though. With typical generosity, Nolan reached out and embraced Corey and welcomed him into our circle of two with unfettered warmth. I am sure it will be the same way with his new baby brother.
Won’t it?? ?Nolan has asked me tentatively on a few occasions whether I would love him as much as I love the baby and of course I’ve told him a million times yes: I will grow another heart when the baby comes and the one I have now is totally for him, that love doesn’t have limits, etc.? ?But although he’s excited to meet his baby brother, I can see via his furrowed brow that he’s still a bit worried and it breaks my heart. I feel like I am mourning a very special stage of our lives that will irrevocably change. We will make sure that Nolan receives a gift when his brother comes into the world, that he receives extra kisses and love.
We’re doing days of fun right now and I am holding him extra tight, in my arms and dreams. But I still feel teary whenever I think about this huge life transition for him and for us, and wonder how other women – especially other previously single mothers and moms to children who were beyond toddler years when their siblings made an entrance to this world – handled it.
How did you do it?
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