I Didn’t Know That I Had More To Give.
When I was pregnant with Shane, I was so madly in love with Dylan that I didn’t know what I was going to do with a second child.
I wasn’t afraid that Shane would be “bad.” It’s just that I was giving so much to Dylan that I was sure the sun rose and set around Dylan’s happiness.
“What if I don’t like the new baby?” I wailed to Bill. “What if he doesn’t like me?”
“He’s going to love you,” Bill said.
Then I had a worse thought. “What if he doesn’t like Dylan?!” That, I thought, would be the worst tragedy of all.
I bought the book, Siblings Without Rivalry, before Shane was even born. I started studying – for Dylan’s sake. (I learned a lot – but had to read it again three years later, when it was relevant.)
Dylan and I watched Three Bears and a New Baby so many times, we both memorized it. We prepared and prepared and prepared.
And everything went fine with Dylan. Shane and Dylan have a special, unbreakable bond – probably no thanks, at all, to me. They just fit well together.
But nothing could have prepared me for how I felt about Shane. Nothing in this world would have helped when, finally, after an emergency C-section and bladder surgery, I saw Shane for the first time.
Shane came out of the womb wailing uncontrollably. They said he’d popped a tiny hole in his lung, which meant he had to go to the NICU immediately. But even as I lay cut-open on the table, I wanted to see Shane before they took him away.
They were hesitant. He was screaming. No one could calm him down. Bill stood next to him, trying, as they cleansed him. Shane kept wailing. They tried bundling him to no avail. Finally, they gave up and brought the screeching newborn toward my head, and I saw Shane for the first time.
My smile was instinctual, his beauty undeniable.
“Hi, Baby!” I squealed with delight.
Shane stopped screaming.
His eyes got wide and round when I spoke. So I spoke some more. I watched his eyes widen and his head turn, his whole body searching for the source of that sound.
He knew my voice.
The calm that came over him was instantaneous, and they casually took him to the NICU – at least part way – without the wailing. And later, when I held him for the first time, I was completely overwhelmed by the love I have for him.
I didn’t know, then, that there is unlimited love. I didn’t know that I had more to give. I thought it was all “used up” on that first child. But I have learned repeatedly that it’s possible to love and love and love and love, and it’s the most natural and worthwhile thing to do in the world.
My boys completely light up my life. Even though we struggle sometimes and I feel hurt on occasion, the love that started back then never dissipates, never wanes, never even wavers. It’s the stuff of love songs and Bible verses and poetry. And it’s real.
Yesterday, Shane turned 14.
He’s already on his way to breaking free of his parents, becoming his own person, demanding his independence. And while it breaks my heart to let go of that little baby who loved the sound of my voice, I know it is as it should be.
And even though I know I must give up my place as the light of his life, he will always be the light of mine.