Sunday, September 26, 2010

Newspaper column

When my brother and I were little, we would get a kick out of checking out old photos of ourselves as babies. Every once in awhile, we'd grab all of the massive albums off the bookshelves, lay them on the carpet and sprawl out beside them, flipping through each page one by one.

As we got older, it became obviously apparent that there were far more photos dedicated to my infancy than my brother's. In fact, my albums outrank his four to one.

This is a fact that my little brother likes to bring up frequently even now in adulthood when there's any inkling of favortism or scales tipping in my favor.

"It's okay," he'll say. "I'm used to it. I know you love Kelly more ... as evidenced by the baby books."

It's typically followed by a roomful of groaning and eye rolling, but my mother knows it's something she'll never hear the end of.

And it's something I'll never forget either.

My husband and I are now expecting our second child, and as much as we're both thrilled about our newest addition, the pace of life with a toddler doesn't leave room for as much planning and doting as there was the first time around.

With my daughter's pregnancy, I documented every weird craving, the first kick and even took weekly profile pictures of my growing belly. As I'm nearing the halfway mark of this pregnancy, I can honestly say I'm just glad we have another 20 weeks to get everything together. We haven't had time to do much more than discuss potential name combinations -- and we're nowhere near a consensus on that decision either.

Being someone who loves to write, in addition to taking on the role of paparazzi to my daughter's development, I also spent hours and hours every month compiling letters to her about her milestones. I detailed the stories of her first words, her first steps and my pride in watching her grow and flourish.

I kept it up for two years. And although I'm disapointed that my ever-busy schedule has prevented me from continuing, I'm no longer worried about the dropped project. Now I'm concerned my youngest will think I love him or her less if I'm somehow unable to find the time to do the same -- which, frankly, seems inevitable when I think about trying to balance life with two little ones.

But I know the guilt of parenthood can rack up quickly. As much as I'll try to protect them from every bump and bruise and avoid any potential fodder that would reqire a psychologist's office visit when they're older, I know I'll make mistakes. I know I'm not perfect.

So even though I can quickly become consumed with remorse for not wrapping myself in this pregnancy like I did with my first, I don't allow myself to wallow in the fear of not having enough love to go around for long.

Because I know your heart can expand instantly. I felt it the second they placed my daughter in my arms for the first time. And I know it will happen again. Parents have an amazing ability to love beyond reason.

Even now, when I'm in the middle of my busiest moment -- my daughter is clammoring for help in the bathroom, the dog needs to go out, the phone is ringing and dinner is threatening to boil over -- I'll feel a tiny little kick and instantly smile.

It's not the photo albums and letters that count. It's the kisses and hugs.


Anonymous said...

I want to guess you're having a boy! :)

I'm sure Alli will have lots of fun bossing him around. And when he's an annoying little shit (excuse my language, I'm also a big sis so I think you know what I'm talking about), I hope she can kick his ass! Haha. I adore my brother now, but I definitely couldn't stand him growing up.

Oh, and I, too, have more photo albums than my brother!

Chelsea said...

My siblings and I are the same way. I'm mad at them that my mom made them more mature albums while mine only span to age 5. I'm the youngest and they have more photos! But I will admit, I loved your Alli posts before she was born, they were beautiful! Are you going to find out the sex?

jsi said...

That is the most important part - the hugs and kisses. I try to keep a balance as best I can, but its useless. Its even harder when I have a photo-phobe right now. he doesn't want a picture taken - at all - and I miht hve 10 photos from last year. 10. Thats not my fault, but I need to help him remember in the future - "This happened at your request!" Congratulations on a new one soon to be in your arms.

The Plainsman said...

That kick was likely a "hug" from the little new one letting you know that he or she is doing OK!

Could you even imagine five or six years ago that you would be writing something like this now? Life is simply amazing!!!

Ray said...

First off: CONGRATS on this second pregnancy, Jerry's job promotion, you doing full-time photography and Allison going to pre-school!!! =D

I've been having trouble commenting on your site and I don't know why. So I'm sending this through my iPod touch.

On your entry:

I too am the oldest, with more baby photos (and video) than my sister. I guess it really is harder adding a second child onto the family. But you're right: that it's love that counts.

Though being a photographer now: I doubt that child #2 will have less photos than Alli. Just sayin'. ;o)

Kristin said...

That's super cute.
Now for the important part.
Boy or girl?

Kerry said...

So excited for you and your new addition. I worry about the same thing. I love my daughter so fiercely (that word looks funny written out) that I just can't imagine feeling the same about another little person. But I know I will when the time comes. It's just the way it is with a mother's love.