A few friends are expecting their second baby and are nervous about the changes to come.
Trying to offer something to calm their nerves sent my mind wandering to what happens when your family grows from one child to two (or four, in our case).
I remember sitting with my expanding stomach, listening to my oldest tell me about her day. If she mentioned a class, my mind could recall the color of the folder needed, an event at lunch and I could relay the time it began and how much extra it cost for juice. Life was calm enough that I could take in every detail. I could study her expressions and memorize the thoughts in her eyes.
And with every rumble of the belly quickly covering my lap, I wondered if I could ever be all of this for her again.
Adding to the family would surely take away from her.
I imagined my heart dividing, dreaming the new babies would grasp on to what was hers, leaving her slighted.
As they entered the world I was in awe of the instant love. The same love that took me by surprise so many years before.
Days rolled forward and I loved every one of my children exactly the same and completely different and all at once.
Our time stumbled awkwardly at first, slowly stepping into a rhythm of quieted cries and finished homework.
I felt spread too thin and filled with contentment all in the same breathe.
As I loved one for determination and calm, I loved another for spirit and noise.
My heart never divided as I had feared, only multiplied in ways I could never have imagined.
And in the past four years of forgotten lunch money and pancakes for dinner, sharing bedrooms and matching pajamas
I have learned that one of the greatest things I could give my children
is each other.
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