When I first brought our second baby home from the hospital, I assumed that our daughter was going to take right to him, being that she had pestered us for a sibling nearly every single day since she learned to speak.
Clearly, she was going to adore her new baby brother.
(This picture never fails to crack me up. I was all full of postpartum hormones like, “LET’S HAVE A BEAUTIFUL NEWBORN BABY PHOTO SHOOT!” And Scarlette was like, “I am not here for this.”)
I was unprepared for how much our daughter struggled with the addition of a new baby to our family. After five years of soaking up our attention as a singleton, she felt a bit sidelined by the introduction of a sibling.
(And admittedly I had indulged her a bit, on account of how we had planned on her being an only child and all.)*
She was a little girl with big emotions, sorting out these new feelings as she tried to figure out where she fit in the new layout of our family.
She thought she an addition meant her subtraction, like maybe because there was less time there was also less love, and she didn’t know it wasn’t true because children don’t know that on their own.
You have to tell them.
It fell right smack in the middle of my writing a book about overcoming insecurity, her struggle, and it shifted the way the material left my heart and flowed to the page.
It became less about overcoming and more about building a foundation where always having a place to belong is a promise.
It became about saying that out loud and found me reassuring her that love is unending – that it fills out all the places we think it can’t even find.
(Every now and then, I find, we all need that sort of reassurance – for someone to speak their affirmation of love right out loud.)
Even still, after lavishing extra love on her, I worried.
I worried about her disinterest in the baby. I worried that she felt displaced, and would, in turn, feel resentful.
But slowly, as with most things in time, with grace and tending everything sort of grew.
The baby grew.
And right alongside the expansion of our family, love grew.
Because, I suppose, as my one of my favorite Caedmon’s Call songs goes, “love keeps growing more love.”
A year and a half later and these two are thick as thieves. Nearly every day I follow a trail of giggles to find them huddled up together somewhere, him all curled into the side of her. He follows her from room to room, a silky-haired shadow, and she reciprocates the affection by showing him all of the things he will ever need to know ever.
(I know this because the other day he was perched attentively on the couch while she waved her hands emphatically at him and when I asked what she was doing she replied matter-of-factly, “teaching Ridley all of the things he will ever need to know, EVER.”)
(She also enjoys stage managing their games and I wonder if which one of the two of them will grow out of that first. My money is not on Scarlette.)
I had never imagined having two children, what with infertility and the terror of Scarlette’s newborn months having made all of my hopes and dreams pinned on just being able to have a child at all.
I had never imagined what it might look like to be the mother of a sister and a brother, to a set of siblings who roam and romp and rival, and it’s a complete treasure to watch as the bonds of their unique relationship are forged.
And so right now this minute, my heart feels near full to bursting at being witness to what they’ll grow into.
P.S. If you write the word grew enough times in a row, it starts to look less and less like an actual real word and then you will google it to see if, in fact, grew is a real word or if it’s just a weird sound that you just made up despite that fact that you are a professional author who’s actual job it is to know the meaning of words.
I’ve had many questions over the past year about how Scarlette was adjusting to having a new baby in the house. It’s been, as we say in the south, a total trip, y’all. That sweet and seriously hilarious story can be found in my new book, which you can read right here! Plus, each edition comes with a beautiful set of printable scripture affirmation cards, as shown below, so that you can speak those words of love aloud to yourself when you need a little reassurance about where you fit ♥