Tonight, my family and I all went to watch my middle daughter's softball game. During the game, a friend of my eldest daughter brought over a wee little cherub she was babysitting. Being the almost 8 months along pregnant mama I am, I immediately gobbled up the little one due it its innate cuteness I politely asked if I could hold her.
Oh what sweetness! A six week old baby. New baby toes. New baby fingers. Toothless little mouth. Soft little fuzzy head. New baby smell. So narcotic to a pregnant mama who can't wait to see the blessing that awaits her in the months to come.
Apparently, however, I missed the look of disbelief sent my way by my almost 2 year old daughter. As curious as she was about the baby, as much as she wanted to hold the baby, as much as she wanted to kiss the baby and see the baby......I was NOT supposed to be interested in the baby. How dare I want to hold that baby when she was my baby.
At first her protests were simply to ask me, "Baby? Baby?" As in, "I want to see the baby. Put the baby down lower so I can see it." Then she progressed to, "Baby. Baby!" As in, "Put that baby DOWN and pick me up because it is in my spot!" Her little eyes quickly filled with real tears as I cuddled the littler one, and soon she was breathing in that short, fast pattern of "I am going to lose it in just a few minutes, do something quick so I don't start bawling".
I gave the new baby back to its keeper and picked up my own baby. How sweet she is too. Broke my heart to see her look that way. Of course she is my baby. Of course I love her as much as I could love anything in the world.
Which left me thinking - will my love be enough?
Will I have enough for them all? How will she feel when there is another baby here and she is one of two little ones? I have to admit, I have never encountered this before. The next one up from her is 8. He was 6 when she was born and very content with directions to find something to do when I was busy nursing his newborn sister. I have never had a baby and a toddler at the same time. You'd think with this being Number 5 I would have gone through this before, but no.
After the game she promptly feel asleep in the back of the truck (for all of you wondering why, why, why would this woman put her 2 year old in the bed of her truck!, I mean the back seat, where her car seat is). She slept through our after game dinner at a local restaurant. When she woke up on our way home - She. Clung. To. Me. Not just a little. Not as most two-year-olds do. Like the way a dryer full of synthetic fabrics tend to cling to each other. Like a dog clings to an open jar of peanut butter. Like plastic wrap clings to glass. Clung. To. Me.
I managed to pull her off long enough to remove her clothes and dump place her gently in the bath. After what amounted to all of 2 minutes, she was pleading, "Up. Up Pesss." Which of course, is "up, please." I picked her up in my favorite fluffy towel (read My Hair Towel) and toted her to living room to add a diaper before bedtime.
She did not want that whatsoever. No Mom, don't set me down. How could you even think about setting me down? You cannot really think that I am going to be happy with you setting me down? No I don't want a diaper. No I don't want to be let out of this towel. Yes, we can go to bed and wake up all musty and wet. It's OK.
Sure. Of course, I wiggled her into a diaper. She immediately mimicked the aforementioned synthetic fabric and clung to me, again. I will freely admit that she has been the most high maintenance need child we have. However, this was even a bit much for her. She did not let go. She never even loosened her grip a bit. Not as my large pregnant body pressed and pulled us both up from the floor. Not as I waddled us to the rocking chair. Not as I rhythmically tried to coerce her to sleep.
But sleep she did. Eventually. Still clinging. Still not letting up with the grip. Even. A. Little. Which really got me thinking, pondering, wondering, worrying. Will she be OK? Will she remember how important she is to me? Will it ever be enough?
It reminded me of this post which I was blessed enough to have read a little over a month ago. I wonder will my little petite flower react with sorrow, or amazement and wonder at our new arrival? Will she be hungry for me? Will she be contented by simply being able to be in my presence - not always being on me or getting the exact same attention she has always gotten? I pray for her.
I pray for me also. That I will be strong enough to know she is OK. To know that she will adapt. And she will still be happy. She will not feel abandoned, as I have felt in the past (more on that another time). She will know that she is loved. And she will thrive in the love we have surrounded her in, with our family, and with Him at the head of it all.