I couldn’t wait to share the news with you. I remember lying in bed thinking for hours the best way to tell you. I remember getting distracted at work thinking about your reaction, and how thrilled you were going to be. You were going to be a big sister and I was going to be a mommy – again.
You see, although I love your little brother very much the announcement of my pregnancy wasn’t as exciting as I would have liked. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t ready. How will I afford this? How will I afford that? It was very difficult for me to be excited about the addition to our family when worry and fear were constantly getting in the way.
But somehow, I knew, sharing the news with you would bring a whole new level of excitement to the family. Because you were going to be a big sister and what a wonderful one you would be.
I told you the big news at Grammy and Pow-pow’s house. I read you a book called, How to Be a Baby… by Me the Big Sister (click here to purchase, it was such a cute book) and bought you a t-shirt that said “Best Big Sister Ever” from Children’s Place. Once you finally comprehended that mommy had a baby in her tummy and you were going to be a big sister your face lit up. From that moment on my thoughts towards this unplanned pregnancy began to change.
This was OUR baby.
We thought of names together. We picked out baby clothes together. We sang to my belly together. We felt the baby move together. We even found out the gender together. We were excited… together. You see, ever since you came into my life you’ve had this way of bringing a sense of peace in what I felt were the most chaotic times. Whenever all I could see was negative, you someway, somehow, were able to bring out the positive without even knowing you were doing so. When money got tight and I couldn’t afford to decorate your brother’s nursery the way I wanted. You unknowingly would come home from school with a hand painted picture that you couldn’t wait to hang up in your brother’s new room. When I was trying on maternity clothes in the dressing room and feeling down on how big I was getting, you would remind me how that just means brother is going to big and healthy. How is it that I, as your mother, am supposed to be taking care of you but you were continuously the one taking care of me?
You told everyone that you were going to be a big sister. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE– including the cashier at the grocery store and any other person you interacted with. You couldn’t wait to change his diaper, dress him, feed him, teach him the ABCs and 123s and tell him which toys of yours were off limits. You added “big sister” to end of your name. Autumn the Big Sister, was how you began to introduce yourself.
That’s where the guilt sank in.
I didn’t want you to be just The Big Sister. Sure, that role is important and you sure were excited to have that title. And since your brother has been born, I know sometimes it seems like that’s who you are. Just the Big Sister. Your brother requires a lot of attention and physically needs me a lot more than you.
When we were released from the hospital, family and friends would make a special visit to our house just to see him and shower him with presents. “Hey Big Sister!” is how they would greet you. “How do you like being a Big Sister?” they would ask. Although, you would always respond cheerfully and you couldn’t wait to show off your big sissy duties; still, I couldn’t help but be concerned. I never wanted you to feel jealous or feel like, you as the Big Sister, were falling under your little brother’s shadow. Because, my daughter, I want you to know you are SO much more than just a Big Sister.
You are my daughter. My little princess. My angel. My sidekick. My backbone. My first love. You are my first heartbeat. My first miracle. My first baby. You are my first born.
You taught me things about myself I never knew existed.
You taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. You taught me how important it is to be independent. You taught me patience and understanding. You taught me about happiness and joy. You taught me hope. You taught me to be strong and confident. You taught me the significance of growth and compassion. But most importantly, you taught me to be a mother. Because without you I wouldn’t be half the mother and woman I am today.
Your cheeks were the first ones I ever kissed. Your diaper was the first one I ever changed. Your throw up was the first one I ever cleaned. Your tears were the first ones I ever wiped. Your boo-boo was the first one I ever made better. Your little hand was the first one I ever held. Your bottle was the first one I ever made. Your cries were the first ones I ever soothed. Your lullabies were the first ones I ever sang. Your future was the first one I ever prayed for. You, my daughter, were the first person I ever loved more than myself.
So even though our home has expanded and we have added this beautiful baby boy into our family. Even though my heart has stretched, my kisses have doubled and my arms have extended for the both of you; I want you to know that I will love you forever. As long as the sky is blue and the grass is green and the ocean runs deep, I will love you. We have a special bond that can never be replaced. You were the first person to ever hear my heart beat from the inside. We have grown together, learned together and taught one another. So yes, although you are a big sister and a great one at that. You, my daughter, are also SO much more. You are my first. And don’t you ever forget that.