Scott and I are spending the weekend shacked up at my folk’s house while they’re in NY. And when I say “shacked up” I mean “slaving away all day cleaning our place top to bottom including but not limited to steam cleaning the carpets while our dogs play in my parents yard until we crawl back over there late at night and fall into bed after a quick dip in the pool.” (We worked our butts off all. weekend. long. – which is what we’ve done every weekend since June trying to get our place ready for the baby. We’re getting there. But that’s not what this post is about.)
My Mom has a real thing for picture frames. Entering their house, you can’t help but notice that just about every surface has a framed picture of SOMEBODY on it. A family member, a friend, the child of a friend, our Rottweiler who passed away…the list goes on and on. The thing is, my Mom is usually pretty good about keeping the rotation going, so it’s not like all of these photos have collected up over the years – most of them are actually pretty current. Except the two at the foot of her bed. They’ve been there forever. Same small pictures. Same small frames. In the 32 years since my sister was a baby, these pictures have stayed put. Something about that struck me. My Mom has never, and will never change those pictures. Because that’s her first baby.
Being the second-born, I never had those years alone with my Mom, just the two of us girls. Until recently, it never even occurred to me that my sister had. When [my littlest niece] Paloma was born, I remember feeling my heart break a little for Eva, because I had seen how tight she was with Marissa. So in love with her little girl, my sis would often declare how awesome Eva was, and it was clear to anyone around them that they were each others favorite person in the world – just the two of them together – inseparable for the three years before Paloma made her entrance. And suddenly, for Miss Eva, that world was being turned upside down. I asked my Mom about it once, and she admitted that she’d had a hard time deciding to have a second child (me) because she wondered what it would do to her bond with my sister – that they waited four years before trying to conceive again, because Marissa was her little pal, and she didn’t want to lose that.
Waking up this morning and seeing these pictures sitting there, I realized that I’m about to know that bond for the first time in my life. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my Mommy as a little girl, and I still do. I wasn’t jealous of the special-ness of the first born child, because it never occurred to me that there was a difference between first and second born until I was a full grown person myself. Sure, I’ve always felt a kinship with younger children – younger sisters of my friends got plenty of sympathy from me when their older siblings would tell them to get lost, to this day Lolo can count on the protection of her Auntie when Eva doesn’t want to play with her. And I know that being the second child comes with a special-ness all it’s own.
But when my daughter is born, even though both of her parents were second babies, she’s going to be our first, we’ll be embarking on this scary adventure with her – all the uncertainty and all the reward that comes along with it, and I have a feeling there’s nothing in the world that can rival that.
(Yes, I’m getting sappy in these hormone-fueled weeks of late pregnancy. Sue me.)