This afternoon my husband and I were unpacking some of the boxes in our garage that have been there since our move last summer. (Yeah, Martha Stewart I'm not.) I came across a great find, my box of stuffed animals that I've carted from home to home over the last
29 years. T wasn't even trying to hide his frustration as I started to pull out my furry friends, exclaiming over each one. But then I found a stuffed animal that was truly special to me, Bunny. Bunny is, go figure, a rabbit. He is an 8 inch Steiff rabbit my mother's best friend gave me when I was a little girl. But Bunny isn't just any rabbit. He's special. He's not squishy or plush, in fact most of his fur has been rubbed off, but I still love him. I slept with him in my bed for years. I told him my secrets. I gave him my love. Then he sat in an honored place on my shelf until I moved out of my parent's home and I packed him away in a box.
I started to think about the stuffed animals my children have.
What will be in their boxes of childhood memories when they grow up? Then I realized that at the young age of two, Hollis already has about 50 stuffed animals, ranging from the 5 Silly Monkeys
to the ginormous bear I got him for his first Valentine's Day.(Um, yeah, he was 4 months old.) Holden, on the other hand, has 2 stuffed animals - a pretty white lamb he received for his christening and a stuffed frog that looks like Kermit dressed in drag. (Seriously. It's a frog dressed in a white t-shirt with hot pink sleeves and a heart on the chest. Goodbye, gender stereotypes!)
The disparity in my children's stuffed animals really gave me pause, and I even mentioned it to T. He too looked a bit chagrined to discover this obvious symptom of Second Child Syndrome
. So once again I began mentally flagellating myself for my shortcomings as a mother. How on earth am I going to convince my children that I love them equally when they will undoubtedly look to their respective stuffed animal piles as a measure of my parental affection? This is exactly what I feared when T and I discovered we were having another baby. I didn't understand how I could possibly love another child as much as I adored Hillis. So now I have to constantly remind myself that yes, Hollis had more of my time. Hollis had two parents completely focused on his every move 24/7 after he was born. Hollis also had two completely neurotic type A parents who had no friggin clue what they were doing. Hollis was my first child.
But Holden has a mother who finally feels like she's figured out what the hell she's doing. (At least on days when I've had enough caffeine. Other days I realize that I still know nothing and never will.) Holden has a mother who doesn't necessarily have the time to watch his every sneeze and poop, but he has a mom who has finally accepted that she's happy with her choices in life and her career. Holden has a mom who doesn't need to put him in a blinding spotlight, agonizing over every developmental stage. Holden has a mom who has learned to live in the moment and enjoy her kids. Holden is my second child.
Holden may never realize what a blessing being the "second child" can be but, as a "first child" married to another "first child," I know it. Hollis had more of my time at the beginning of his life but Holden, Holden had more of my heart. And so this evening I went back to the box in the garage and I pulled out my Bunny. For Holden. My second child. My baby.
Labels: Mama Drama