I took my 3-year-old to a local farm today for a tour so she could admire and pet the pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens, roosters, turkeys, and the lone white peacock. It was a hot and smelly outing, but she enjoyed it and we went home afterward for lunch and a nap. It wasn’t an entirely unusual day, as we’re together every day. As in, every one of ‘em — almost without exception since the day she was born.
But I found myself getting weepy nonetheless at the day’s activities because it’ll be among the last times it’s just the two of us.
I’m the first person to brush off people with concerns about introducing a new sibling to their existing children.
“Have you ever met an adult who still bemoans the advent of a younger sibling in their life?” I always scoff.
And here I’m the one doing it now.
My daughter is saying and doing all the right things as we prepare for the birth of her younger sister. She’s excited to share her room (or so she thinks), she’s talking about picking out her pajamas, giving her a bath and discussing what she’s allowed to eat. She also keeps asking to go to her baby sister’s house, despite the fact that I keep telling her that this is her baby sister’s house.
I’m thrilled for her that a new, special person is coming home soon with whom she can share her life.
It’s not that I feel guilty giving her a younger sibling. I’m just mourning the loss of my precious time with just the one child. I realize that I’ll never be able to give my new baby the same kind of attention I’ve given my older one. As a few people have told me — the older one will need me more in the next few months than the younger one. While the new baby and I will bond in our own way, it won’t be the same and that makes me feel a bit guilty.
And I feel sad for my older daughter because while I’ll know she’ll get over it eventually, she’ll never again have me the way she’s always — and only — known. I’m concerned about how the first few months will be when she has to get used to sharing me. She’s a strong little girl and I know she’ll survive it (as all kids do), but that doesn’t mean her struggles won’t tug at my heartstrings.
It’s all a good thing, of course — when done right, sisters are a real gift. And I’m thrilled to be having two girls and am hopeful they’ll be among those who take advantage of walking through life holding each other’s hands through it all.
But there’s still a feeling of loss that’s come over me lately. I’m sure it’ll pass soon, but I’d by lying if I said it wasn’t lingering.
Did you feel any sadness or guilt before bringing an additional child into your family?