open letter

big sister

hi baby.

you might think -- someday, once you come out, and have a gender and a name among other key attributes -- in reading this that you existed during my pregnancy in my mental framework only as an upcoming sidekick to your sister, as a foil for her cute and humorous antics.

you might wonder, "where's the journal of when you were pregnant with me? eva has a whole book!" sort of an "i gestated in your uterus and all i got was this stupid nickname" type of scenario.

well, you'd be justified in asking these things (both your parents are second children, so we can try to relate). there are some legitimate key differences in a first pregnancy and subsequent ones. but you'd be wrong to think that those differences mean i (we) think of you less, wanted you less, that we are any less excited to have you join our family. not in the slightest. it simply comes down to a matter of split attention. your sister, who will always be "older" from your perspective, is barely more than a baby herself right now, and as convenient as it would be at various moments, we can't just hit the "pause" button on her while we focus on the amazement we feel in contemplating your arrival. breakfast still has to be made. so, the thoughts i have and have been having since the moment i learned of your existence don't always make it into a written record. but they're there...

these feelings are so strong, so real. it's overwhelming, really, when i think of how much i wanted you, how i was made to wait just long enough that i began to have sporadic but serious doubts that you would ever come to us... then the joy of the news. all that fear melted away, and i felt the same roller coaster of emotions that i felt the first time around (though i got to enjoy it more, since "fear" made up far less of the pie, since i at least marginally know what i'm doing this time). this pregnancy has been filled with so much -- so many things have happened, so much emotion has flooded through all of us -- that the time has flown by. i look down or in the mirror and am surprised at times at my shape -- when did this happen? wasn't i just 4 months along yesterday? in some sense, i feel caught off guard by the fact that you'll be here in a matter of weeks. on the other side, i feel like you've always been there, and i feel so comfortable in my body as it is right now (okay, not always *physically comfortable but in a broader sense) that i feel like i could just stay this way forever.

i intended to write more for you, but i didn't, and for that i apologize. but i'm writing now to tell you that the feelings are no different the second time around. i hear people say that while the second child never gets to be the sole focus of his or her parents' attention, this is balanced out by getting the more experienced parents that the older sibling, ever the guinea pig, never gets to have. i don't know how the scales tilt on this, but i do know how i feel.

so though i say i could stay this way forever, i wouldn't really want to... because what i'm really wanting, what i think about more and more every day, is finding out who you are. i am so excited for you to join our family. you are so loved already...

your mama

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