There was once a time, not too long ago, when I made updating this blog a priority. It began to feel like a job. When I started to feel stressed out about the prospect of updating, I knew it was time to step back and ask myself why I began blogging and why I continue to do it. The answer was simple: because I've always been a writer. I just write. It's what I do. And while the activities and recipes continued to flow easily on a perfectly tuned schedule, the writing from my heart sort of fell to the back burner and, more or less, stopped. The thing is, I have so many things on my heart that I have wanted to write about but they keep falling behind the scheduled posts, the must-writes, the lists and projects. And then there is the whole issue of time, something that is in short supply as a parent, and my first trimester lack of energy and nine o'clock is simply bedtime because my brain hurts and the day has ended. So, I'm making it my goal to write from my heart first and foremost when time permits, when energy permits, and letting everything else fall into place.
And on my heart right now is Ethan becoming a big brother. We've explained to him in ways he can understand at this point that he's going to be a big brother, that he's going to have a baby brother or sister. (He insists both.) The why and how and when is still irrelevant at this point, though we keep the topic fresh in our conversations. He has expressed interest in doing things that he associates with babies because he has observed them during time spent with his friends who have baby siblings: making baby food, feeding the baby milk in a bottle, pushing the stroller when baby is crying. He is bright and beautiful and optimistic about the whole ordeal at this point, offering up name suggestions such as Penguin, Curious George, Octopus and -- always a favorite -- Jonas for his baby sibling. I'm trying at this point to involve him in the process without overwhelming him because at this point there isn't much need for details. At this point, he doesn't notice that I'm more sluggish than usual or that we start our mornings off slower than before. As much as he thrives on routine and constant schedule, Ethan is pretty adaptable. And he likes stealing bites from my morning bagel.
I'm aware that there won't always be just good in this adaptation. That one day the baby will actually be here and life will be completely different, unrecognizable, unfamiliar. This new dynamic is inevitable and as daunting as it is to anticipate jealousy or hurt feelings or trying to split my love and attention in so many directions, I welcome it. I welcome the change. I welcome the thoughts of seeing Ethan become a big brother and give that bottle of milk, that stroller push, helping me to puree sweet potatoes for his new sibling. I welcome our tiny home feeling even tinier. For me, the thought of having a close in age sibling is one of the most magical thoughts anyone can think. The fact that I am able to give Ethan this gift makes it all worth it, all of it, the gruesome mornings and the even worse things to come. I never had that. I was finishing up elementary school when my own sister came into this world and our closeness, though it ebbs and flows in her teenage years, has always been more of a mother/daughter relationship than siblings. I've never been able to turn to my sister for life advice, relationship advice, for someone to squeeze my hand and celebrate the excitement of becoming a mother for the first time. It's something I've always wanted, something I've always been jealous of in friends who are surrounded by siblings and who are, consequently, never alone.
I am sure that in the beginning, or maybe even down the line in years to come, Ethan will feel jealous, or slighted, or upset, or sad, or confused as to why his world has changed. But in my heart, there is only one reason: for him. It's all for him. It's for him to have someone to grow with, to scheme with, to dream with, to call up on the phone in their 20's and gossip about why I'm the most unreasonable mother on the planet. It's for him to have this puzzle piece in his life that was missing from my own.
I'm sure there will be drama and a less-than-smooth transition into a family of four, but my mind isn't ready to process that all yet. I find myself up at night thinking about what it will be like to see Ethan hold his baby sibling for the first time and every last bit of everything feels right in this world. In the morning when the world is spinning and I'm not sure if we're leaving the house without shoes (which we did today -- without Ethan's shoes, anyway) or we're wearing pants (which thankfully we both had on today), it's this thought that gets me through it.
The thing is, people find out you're expecting your second baby and they talk about it with this tone of pity for your child and the insinuation that his world is ending. But the truth is, his world is just beginning.