To my firstborn,
I promise you, she is a gift.
I know you were confused when we brought her home; why my belly that you loved resting your head upon was gone, just like that; why we stopped looking at you as much, holding you. We keep telling you you’re a big brother now–and while you still don’t understand what that means–you smile like you’re proud, anyway.
You thought you were my baby, the center of my world and my heart forever. You share your toys at the park and your playdough at Sunday school–but you never thought you’d have to share me.
You didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I love you. I didn’t think that either, until she came into our lives and stole parts of our hearts that used to be only yours.
But I promise you, my sweet boy, she is a gift.
She can’t play trucks yet. She can’t hug you back or say “I love you, too.” Your bedtime stories and songs are cut short most nights because she needs me too, and I often have to rush out of your bedroom instead of snuggle you and tickle your back while you fall asleep like you ask me to; and for so much of the day, she occupies the loving arms of mine that you’re still unsure how to do without at times.
You don’t understand why I have less patience, less energy these days. You didn’t do anything to deserve that. You miss who I was before–bright-eyed in the morning, filling the day with fun for just you and me. There have been so many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep, because I miss her too and I’m sorry she’s gone right now.
But I promise you, your sister is a gift.
I know life is harder for you right now with her in it. So much of my day is devoted to keeping her happy. So many times, I can’t hear your sweet voice that tells me stories and asks me questions while she cries. I can’t play cars with you because I’m nursing her, again. I have to say “no” to you so much more than I’d like to, and please know it breaks my heart every single time I can’t choose you.
But I promise she is a gift.
I know you don’t know it yet and there are some days you don’t yet know how to express all these feelings so you cry and scream. I know there are some days you wish I’d take you in my arms and put you in the car and run away with you to someplace quiet;
And sometimes– I wish that, too.
But I promise she is a gift,
and you will understand that soon…
When she is the one rolling her eyes beside you when your father and I make rules you don’t like.
When she is the only one who remembers the moments from your childhood, both the good and bad. You won’t have to paint the picture of who you once were to her, like you do everyone else, because she was already there.
When she’s the little body that crawls into your bed some nights because she feels safest next to you.
When she’s the one who’s always on the sidelines cheering you on in sports and in life.
When she’s the person beside you crying when Daddy has to leave again —
and the one, months later, holding up the other side of the poster you made together that says “welcome home.”
When she is the only friend you can bring with you when we move, again.
She’ll be the one who will keep your secrets safe,
the one who covers you when you try to sneak out for the first time.
She’ll be the only person who gets certain jokes,
the only one who can look into your eyes and know what you’re feeling and why,
the one person who knows you best one day when I am gone.
I know she has changed everything we once knew, me and you,
But I promise you, my firstborn, she is a gift.
Some days, I have to remind myself of that, too. When you throw yourself to the ground in frustration and tears, I can’t help but feel as though we wounded you bringing her home and into your life. I feel that I betray you every time I say “no,” when all I want is to say “yes.”
I am grateful for the endless love and grace you give both of us every day. I am thankful for how you believe in me always, even when I fail you. You are my firstborn; the one who made me a mommy; the one who turned my world right-side up. You’re the one who taught me how to love in the best kind of way.
You were born not only to fulfill the role of being both my baby and big boy forever and always–but also to be the leader, the protector, the example for your siblings. So hold your chin up high, and remember you are important always–even when you don’t feel it right now–because:
Your sister is a gift, but you, my dear, are the greatest gift to her.