Friday, November 14, 2008

dear benjamin

My sweet boy,

I feel like I owe you a bit of an apology. I know I don't devote as much time and attention to you as I did to Daniel when he was your age. I know you are more often left to play by yourself or with the nanny. I know I sometimes slip and don't feed you your solids every single day. I know I'm not as vigilant about making sure you get age-appropriate activities to nurture your growth and development. I used to take Daniel out for stroller rides almost every day when he was younger than you — just weeks old, even. And I'm lucky if you get outside for fresh air a couple of times a week.

I'm not going to pull the cancer card on this one — well, except for the getting outside part. That's because of my hip. Mainly, it's just that having two boys instead of one is more of a juggling act. And you have to admit that your big brother is at quite a demanding age. You've seen him. He can talk quite well now, and he's very emphatic about expressing his needs! When I was pregnant with you, I felt sad that Daniel wouldn't have my undivided attention anymore. Now I feel a little sad that you don't get more of it.

But you know what, Benny? I think you are doing fine in spite of it. You are an amazing little boy. You are just as curious as your brother, and you are exploring everything you can get your hands on — the newspaper, our full dinner plates, your activity gym. No, I don't always get down on the floor and stack blocks in front of you, but you seem to be developing your pincer grip just fine, grabbing the carved wooden insects from Daniel's puzzles and inspecting his Thomas trains. You are practically scooting across the room, and you've only just figured out how to sit up. You grab your spoon with such a grip that I can barely pry it from your fingers. You are going to be a handful once you learn to walk and talk — I can tell! In a good way.

So maybe I can relax. Maybe that's the secret: Babies figure things out, even if their parents are more busy and frazzled and tired than they were with the first one. And you know what? You may get less attention from Mom and Dad than Daniel did, but you have something he didn't have: a big brother who loves to help feed you and talk to you and play with you. Ben, you are a wonderful, smiley little sweetheart, and you're surrounded by love, and I think you're going to turn out just fine.

With love, love, and more love,

Mommy

16 comments:

Katy said...

Thank you for this beautiful letter...... It made me feel better on this very frazzled morning!

sincerely, a mommy to a 2 year old and a 3 week old :-)

Jenni said...

I could have written this post almost word for word. I keep telling Adam he has 2nd child syndrome because I just feel like I can never focus on his needs the way I did with the twins. But like Ben, he seems to be thriving despite my split attention - crawling, eating cheerios, napping on the go when he has to, and just generally being a darn cute, happy little baby. Our baby boys will be fine, and even if they don't get 100% of our time, they end up with more because of their big brothers (and sister, for Adam) loving on them too.

Amy M said...

A sweet note deep from your heart. You are a great Mom.

Julie said...

Emilie! Child #2 was such a challenge for me for just the reasons you mention here. I never quite felt that it fit. I wanted to give him everything I had given his older sister, but I was never the super woman that I wanted to be, and I never gave myself a break for not being all that.

You are WONDERFUL! I am amazed by you. Your boys will both turn out great because they have a mom and dad that love them unconditionally. Not to worry. I also think God compensates for what we lack as long as we're trying our hardest, and that, my dear, is more than apparent--you are definitely trying your hardest.

otrey3 said...

Emilie, could I please print this out, change the names and pretend I wrote it to Alec? Sigh.

--Laura S.

Monkeymama said...

I've been pondering just this topic this morning. It's a beautiful post and I can really relate to it.

Us plus 3 said...

I am in tears as I write this note of thanks .... Thank you for making me (a mother of 3 under 4) feel normal! I too could have should have and now WILL write a letter to my 2nd and 3rd children to express how sorry I am, but how much I know that it will all be ok! So again, Thank you!

Madwoman of Preserve Path said...

What a great letter, Emilie. I, too, could have written it word for word to my second and third kids. And I was perfectly healthy and had few other challenges in my life! But we mothers always find a way to feel as though we need to apologize for everything. No need to regret. We dance as fast as we're able. And our kids end up just fine because they know love when they see it.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Emilie,
I felt the same things with each pregnancy and birth and post-birth. With five chicklets in my fold, I can tell you confidently that they do make their own way. It will never be equal in terms of time you spend with each one and how, but it is okay. And if there is ever a moment of doubt in Benjamin's mind, he will read your words when he is old enough and know how much you adore him. I think all of this is easier to take and process when we realize our children are simply on loan to us from God. We don't have to be everything to any of our children; just give them what we can each day and move forward from there. You're doing awesome. :)

kristine said...

Like Sarah, I was just thinking about this same thing this morning, too. I have been feeling the same wayu with Parker. It makes me sad, but happy to see he actually doesn't need it as much as I thought he did.
It's ok, Em.

Jessica Griffith said...

Emilie--I could have written this letter and I am not coping with the massive challenge of cancer. Going from one to two is such an adjustment, because you realize you can only attend to one thing at a time and your kids maybe don't realize that.

You are a fantastic mom and both your boys are so blessed to have you.

Betty M said...

What gorgweous boys!

Rebecca said...

Yes indeed. You captured the dilemma of raising the second child. You put it more beautifully than I could have! What a joy to read.

Danielle said...

What a beautiful letter to your son! I remember feeling exactly the same things with my 2nd child--before the 3rd was born. I felt so guilty that I couldn't give her what I had given her older sister. I now have 4 children (8, 6, 3, and 2) and I finally realize exactly what you already see--each child develops in spite of us. All they really need is lots of love and encouragement. And, honestly, in many ways I feel that subsequent children are better off than the first. I try to remind myself that the ability to play independently and make discoveries independently are actually a good thing for a child. I was so busy entertaining and teaching my first that she didn't get a whole lot of time to realize she could do those things all by herself. I still see her looking to me for approval more often than her siblings.

I only just stumbled upon your blog tonight, but you seem to be an amazing person and a very loving mommy--BOTH of your boys are very blessed.

Alex and Jill said...

You're a wonderful Mommy.

This pic of Ben is precious...he's a happy baby, that's obvious. :)

Sarah L said...

Well, this made me tear up. I feel so guilty that Quin gets less direct interaction than Anna did, but you're right--they figure it out, and he has her. All she had was two dorky parents. :)