Monday, July 30, 2012

Brothers and Sisters

Natalie is hurtling towards her second birthday at the speed of light.  Yeah, she's only 17 months old right now but by the time the rest of summer flies by and we're starting school at the end of August she will be halfway to two.  I am assuming that this is the time in a young child's life when their parents are beginning to field questions regarding a sibling.  I have friends whose children are months younger than Natalie and are either already expecting or beginning the "trying" process all over again in the next few months.

And Craig and I just aren't there yet.

There have been conversations about a second child.  Craig and I have discussed it.  I've talked with friends.  I even blogged about the birth experience I'd like to have with any forthcoming children.  For awhile I couldn't even fathom the thought of going through another pregnancy, delivery and God forbid......I couldn't handle putting my family and friends through another bout of PPD.  I spoke with my friend Jill about second children at length awhile back - she too having been through the torture of PPD, she understood my hesitancy (and flat out refusal at times) but she reassured me that there would be a time where it would all seem managable and even exciting.  I expressed to my friend Emily about how I feel like I just got Natalie and how I just wasn't ready to add another to the mix - I feel like I need more time with just me and her.  But then Emily pointed out how, in a way, I DID just get her because I wasn't really present for much of her infancy.  Huh.  I hadn't thought about it that way but I understand her point.  It's only been in the past eight months that I have truly begun to enjoy being a mother to Natalie and I'm not ready to jump off the cliff and take the risk of being pulled away emotionally from her.  I'm perfectly happy and content being very present and available to her right now.  I am loving being her source of comfort, joy, entertainment and at times, sheer frustration.  I'm not ready to have to share and divide my attention.  

For right now, we are content as a family of three.

But I do worry that the nagging fear in the back of my mind won't ever go away.  I won't ever take that jump or that plunge off the cliff and have another child.  I have this vision of Natalie sitting alone in our home after Craig and I pass away and she has no one to share her tears with.  No one to help her unpack and unload all the junk we have accumulated.  No one to laugh with about how mom would dance around the kitchen while she cooked and the creative language dad would come up with while trying to fix the pool.  

My mother has one living brother and one deceased sister and after my grandmother passed away there was a houseful of wonderful family treasures that she and my uncle had to divide up between the two of them.  Both of them left their spouses at home and met in College Station to go through the home and my mother recounted to me what a lovely experience it was despite the sadness of burying their mother.  They were able to take their time and truly recall childhood memories and funny family stories - things that would have been frustrating for their two impatient spouses.  For some reason, that image of two siblings bonding over a shared history stuck with me.

My husband and I both have siblings and although at times our relationships have been tenuous and volatile, we have an understanding. For good or for bad, we know what makes each other tick and why we are the way we are. In a sense, my brothers sometimes know me better than my husband because they understand the family from which I was created and molded.  They know why I make certain decisions, react in a particular way or have a unique quirk.  Especially when starting a home, my brothers understand the necessity of having the same color hanger in our closet with all the clothes facing the same way where Craig was perfectly content with his mess of wire hangers and completely unorganized closet.  *Shudder*  Even genetically, I am closer to them than I am to any other person on this planet - including my parents.  If something terrible were to happen to me, they could literally be my lifesavers.  

I want Natalie to have that feeling of closeness, of kinship and of deep understanding.  Besides, Craig and I won't provide the most perfect of childhoods (who does?) and she'll need someone to commiserate over margaritas someday.

But for right now, I am enjoying being able to stop what I'm doing at any particular moment because a curly headed, giggling little girl has wrapped her skinny arms around my leg desperate for a hug from Momma.  

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