A letter to my second born.

Dear second born child,

Truthfully, I feel like I hardly gave you a thought before you got here. My mind was so worried about your brother and how he would feel and how he would adjust. Your “nursery” is basically a junk room with a changing table in it. Your clothes (read your hand me downs) weren’t washed, then folded and sorted. The house wasn’t cleaned and neatly organized to welcome you. We didn’t even have a name picked for you until the day we left the hospital. Honestly, I felt a little sad for your brother, who suddenly had to share his world. I felt guilty that he couldn’t have me all to himself, and I was worried that I didn’t give him enough when it was just the two of us.

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photo: Anne Ryan Dempsey

But now that you’re here, my heart hurts in a different way. I feel sad that you’ll never have the quiet sleepy mornings I had with your brother. You can’t even rest without getting jumped on, or force fed veggie straws, or laid on top of. I feel guilty that I can’t hold you more or snuggle in for a nap together.  It’s hard to find time during the day to pick you up and just be with you in that moment. It’s hard to balance the emotional energy it takes to manage you, your brother, and the household repsonibilities. It’s hard to feel like I’m loving you well enough.

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But I hope you know, in spite of that, how having you has filled my heart up in a new and different way. I always thought “how can I love you as much? Is there enough room in my heart to give that much love?”  And now I know the truth in what everyone said. You filled a part of me that I didn’t know was missing.  You’ve enriched our lives with just who you are. And I can think about all the good things you get to experience as our second born. You have a built in best friend who is already your biggest fan. You get less crazy parents who don’t feel the need to worry over every little thing because we know “it’s just a stage.” You’ll probably get away with a lot more, because let’s be honest, we’re too tired to fight you over it.

You are precious, my second born babe.  The child who is reminding me that parenting isn’t always disciplining and rule enforcing.  The child who is reminding me to slow down and try to soak it all in.  The child who is reminding me that all life starts as a tiny miracle.  You are precious, and I love you so.

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photo: Anne Ryan Dempsey

12 thoughts on “A letter to my second born.

  1. Feora

    I recently wrote an email to my second born (to his email addy that I made for him, just like I did for his big bro). It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life, I wanted to take the time to let him know just how I was feeling at that very moment and how much love and joy he has brought to our family.

    1. I need to get better at that! I have an email address for big brother and I used to send stuff all the time, but have slacked off. That’s such a sweet way to leave them a nice memory for everyone to look back at later!

  2. Gwen

    Ashley! I could have written those exact words about Henry. Now having a third has me feeling the like he will get the short end of the stick again. I have to take comfort in the thought that this addition will enrich his life enough to overpower “middle child syndrome.” This will be nice for Jules to read one day!

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