Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Monday, May 18, 2009
Towards the end of my pregnancy I had a permanent feeling of nervousness. Excitement, sure, but mainly nervous anticipation and a sort of fear that by giving birth to a new child I would be sacrificing my first born. That by bringing a new child into our family I would be shutting Archer out. That he would resent me and us, be hurt, sad, jealous, frustrated, alone. I feared a second child might come between us - our bond broken, our love weakened.
When my doctor told me I was in labor and should probably get my ass over to the hospital pronto, I broke down. Archer was with me in the doctor's office, crumpling the paper on the examining table, sucking on a lollipop and I looked at him, back at my doctor and then burst into tears. It was time to go to the hospital which meant it was time for me to drop Archer off at a friend's house which meant it was time for me to leave my son to tend to our daughter, shiny new.
I was crushed by the thought of looking in my rear view mirror and not seeing him in the middle seat anymore. From now on, there would be two, Fable on the passenger side and Archer behind me kicking my seat.
I'm pretty sure my feelings were completely natural, even commonplace for mothers soon to deliver their second born as evidenced, here:
Of course, no parent is ever certain how a second child will be received by their first. I spent months preparing for the worst, coaching Archer with stuffed animals, asking for his help in song.
"Will you sing a song to baby Fable in my tummy?" I would ask.
Archer would look at me, head cocked, bewildered but eventually...
"Fable, Fable, give me an answer do/ I'm half crazy over the love of you/ It won't be a stylish marriage/ I can't afford a carriage..." he would sing into my belly button like a microphone.
Still. We had no idea how Archer would react to his baby sister. No clue that our only child would take to big-brotherdom like a seasoned professional, like it was the most obvious and natural thing in the world.
Hal and I were blown away.
Minus the little running away incident, Archer has gone beyond brotherhood, his instincts to nurture not unlike a new mother, his ability to be patient, kind. His need to protect her, hug her, hold her hand in the backseat of the car, no matter how hard he must lean to his right to reach her.
The day I dressed Fable up in her fancy sailor dress Archer gasped, ran to her and said, "Look at you, Fable! You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in my whole life!"
For the tenth time that day, I had to hide my tears from him. Because who says that? Who holds their sister's bottle for minutes at a time, dabs her mouth, kisses her cheek, reads her stories before bed every night, tucks her in?
I should have known that Archer would, and yet? Truly, I had no idea. No idea how much Fable's arrival would make me love Archer more. As a brother and caretaker and kind, doting, heartbreakingly generous soul. No idea that having two children would be like this.
People say that when you have two children your love expands, your heart gets bigger to make room for a new human to love. For me, expansion was just the beginning. It was like someone dropped a piano of adoration on my head and left me tending to the pieces of my obliterated everything. I was a goner the first moment Archer rushed the hospital room to kiss his baby sister on her forehead...
I've been a goner ever since.