Saturday, April 30, 2011
The Changing Nature of Relationships
First babies are fun. Nothing can replace the feeling of giving birth to your first child (I’m speaking not as someone who ever has nor will physically give birth to a baby, but as someone who floated on air down the hospital halls of my firstborn’s birthing room and someone who will do that again very soon). Every tiny change along the way of pregnancy, feeling that first kick, reading books to a bulging stomach; the first time around it’s brand new and magical. When the baby finally arrives, it’s an incredible culmination of those firsts that then switches to a “what do we do with this?” sort of feeling.
Second babies are different. We’re far from old pros at this thing called childbirth (and child-raising). And it’s still every bit as exciting... I absolutely cannot wait to meet my baby girl. Yet it’s different. I fret less over the tiny physical changes or possible complications, and more over my wife’s heart, my son’s reactions, and trying to ascertain the personality of our newest incoming family member. I think more about and am fascinated by how this little girl will totally change the dynamic of our family. Our focus shifts from one little goofball to a family of four. We will begin to rely on each other more. We will find camaraderie with the same people that daily drive us crazy. I feel like our focus will shift from a triangle of one-on-one relationships to that of a family unit. Parenting rules will change, because previous norms from #1 won’t always fit with the totally different life, different sins, and different heart of #2.
Just before baby #1, there was a deep and difficult realization that our life as two would never be the same. We couldn’t go back to being college kids or newlyweds or full-speed-ahead world travelers. Now we’re here in the final days before baby #2 and the realization is just as deep as last time. Our lives as three will never be the same. Our son will have someone else to occupy his time and energy (yay!). Our daughter will have someone else to help her grow and learn. There will come a day and a moment when our kids run to each other for help with a pain or struggle instead of their Mama and I. I wonder if in that moment I’ll rejoice at the step in my children’s relationship or hurt at the loss in ours.
Change is always the same. But different. In general, I’m the rare type of person that loves changes. I fully expect that this time will be no different. Come on baby girl!