My dear Molly,
Waiting for your brother to arrive and change our lives completely once again, leaves me with all sorts of mixed emotions.
The concept of mixed emotions might be a little bit difficult for you to grasp – I’m struggling with explaining it as well. So far you can only name three emotions: happy, sad and “asleep” (“spawa”), which I know isn’t an emotion, but you don’t. You also feel anger and frustration a lot and I’ve been trying to encourage you to name that as well, but you’re too angry to listen to me at those moments.
I don’t feel sad or happy or “asleep” but I do feel lots of emotions which I find difficult to pin down and name. For your sake, I’ll keep it basic.
Waiting for your brother makes me a little bit sad.
I’m fully aware of the fact that the time when just the three of us existed in our special little world is about to end. I have to admit something: after you were born, I cried a lot. I felt lost and confused. It felt like having woken up in a parallel universe, where most of the things looked the same but functioned in a different way. And no one told me the rules of the new world. All I had were some contradictory guidelines which I wasn’t sure if and how to follow. So I cried, wishing your Dad and me could have our old life back, in which we were allowed to be as irresponsible as we wanted. I was looking at you and thought you were cute, but I had no idea what to do with you.
That slowly started changing, though. Your Dad and I started spending our evenings looking at your photos and talking about how adorable you were in every way and how much we missed you after you fall asleep, even though we were grateful you weren’t awake anymore. Soon we couldn’t remember what our lives were like before and what it was that we actually missed. At the moment the three of us exist and enjoy our little bubble, with our intern jokes, and you are definitely our equal. We went from being a couple to being a family of three.
It makes me a bit sad to think that this phase will come to an end. That we will never again be a family of three and you will never again be the only baby we focus on. It makes me sad to think that your brother won’t just be changing your Dad and me, this time your little world will be rocked and turned upside down as well and you’re so tiny and confused as is already.
At the same time, I’m happy. You changed our lives for better, and I know that your brother will do the same. And it will be lovely to experience all of the first smiles, laughs, rolling over, attempts at sitting up, attempts to walk, to speak, to trick us into staying up just a bit longer once again… We learned from you how amazing all of that is and this time you’ll be with us to experience it all and comment on it. The three of us, the “older” ones, can sit together and comment on how silly the baby’s being. I’m excited about your brother learning to say your name more than I’m excited about him calling me “Mama”.
I’m happy that you’ll get to be someone’s big sister because you’re amazing and you have so much to teach him. You thought us so much when we thought we knew everything already! You showed us how not to rush places but instead to stop every now and then and collect some rocks and sticks (maybe smell the flowers while we’re at it), how to put Lego blocks together to make a garage which fits nothing at all but has some animals on the roof and how to resist the urge to build that said garage “properly”, how to demand more of what we enjoy because there’s no reason we should stop kissing just because it’s bath time. And your brother will know nothing to start with. What a great tiny blank canvas for you to paint on with your cute little dirty fingers.
I’m also happy because I can tell that you’re growing into a great little girl which means that your Dad and I are doing a good job, even though we were so confused and scared at the start. It makes me braver when I think about your little baby brother and our future lives together.
In addition to all of this, I’m starting to understand what to feel “asleep” (“spawa”) might mean. We can consider it an emotion – I could now describe it as a feeling of complete calm that resurfaces when you’re lying in bed, thinking about your baby girl who’s growing into a proper girl and her baby brother who’ll we’ll get to meet soon. “Asleep” means enjoying your present life, feeling happy and fulfilled when reflecting on the past, and excitedly looking forward to the future. That is how your mama feels. A little bit sad, but mostly happy and definitely “spawa”.