“She’s not brand new anymore, she’s just another kid!”
You love her more because she’s brand new and I’m not brand new anymore.
Not brand new. That’s what my 5 yr old shouted as we drove home from Chapters where we left a toy behind because the line was too long.
It took this moment of frustration and fatigue for her true feelings about being the eldest of three girls to come out to me. My heart fell to my knees and my stomach fell clear out of me. Even her sister knew that this was big and to keep quiet and she’s just 3 yrs old.
I told her the only thing I could. That she was right. That her baby sister is just a kid, not a brand new baby anymore. And sad as I felt about the realization that my first born was hurting, I was equally saddened by the realization that each will experience similar feelings of being loved-less than the others.
If it’s an exaggeration to say that every parenting book written tells you not to tell a child that you love them more I’d be surprised. My theory when I had my first child was that I would only love her that way. It was inconceivable to me that I could actually love more than one child. Then my second was born and I realized that just as she had grown in my body, so too there grew within my heart another little heart just for her. I’ve said it repeatedly to all of them, you don’t share my love, I have a heart in my heart that belongs to just you – it’s for you and me and no one else and you don’t have to ever share my love.
And today I learned that some little ones need more. They need you to love them more because love leeches out of them faster than it might another child and their account of love needs to be filled more often, in more ways.
After getting her sisters out of the car I took a moment to place my hand on her heart and say:
You, my dear, are my first daughter. You made me my favourite thing to be: a mommy. I have known you the longest and I love the most and each day that passes I love you more because each day I know you more; and I will find a million ways to show you each and every day just how much I do love you and always, always, always will no matter how many brand new people come into our family.
And as her little soul seemed to expand and her body appeared to relax, I glanced up to heaven and said a silent prayer that I could heal the pain by being more mindful of my daughters need for loving reminders that no matter which brand new person is around, she doesn’t shine any less brightly.