A letter to my first born
I’m sitting here, exhausted and covered in breastmilk, mourning our Fridays. My postpartum hormones are probably to blame for this sudden nostalgia for what was generally a very ordinary day.
For the past few years, I didn’t work on Fridays so I could stay home with you. I wish I could say that I filled these days with exciting new experiences, but we both know adventures were the exception rather than the rule. Occasionally we ventured out to Loch Lomond, the soft play or to visit friends, but most Fridays were pretty standard. We might go to the park if the weather was nice, or to the library if it wasn’t. Some days a trip to Morrisons or walk to the local Spar were all that passed for entertainment. Often we didn’t leave the house at all.
I rarely planned educational or creative activities for us. My idea of crafting was giving you a piece of paper and a bucket of craft supplies and letting you go nuts. When we did baking, it was never healthy and never looked quite right. Looking back now, I struggle to remember how we filled those Fridays at home. Puzzles? Paw Patrol? Dancing? Drawing? Some days we did all of it, or none of it. There was nothing special about these days except for that they were ours.
Now you are a big sister, and while I’ll still be home with you on Fridays, they won’t be our days anymore. Your little sister will be there too, and she demands a lot of my attention. When you say, “Do you want to play with me?”, I may have to say, “Yes, I’d love to play with you, but I have to feed/change/hold your sister right now.” You will have to learn to play on your own. We will probably watch TV more and bake less. I’m trying not to feel too guilty about it.
See, I know that you need me, but the baby needs me more right now. You can do so many things on your own already, from getting dressed and setting the table to putting on your shoes and hanging up your laundry. It’s hard for me to imagine that you were once as helpless as your baby sister is. You are so big, so clever, so strong – and now I need your help.
On those Fridays when you, me and Baby M are together, I’m going to need you to show me how big you can be. When the baby is crying, comfort her in the way that only a big sister can. Be patient when things take a bit longer than they used to. Try not to whine when we can’t do what you want to do. Remember that I’m sleeping for a maximum of three hours a night, and my tolerance for whining is pretty much zero.
And during those times when I’m focused on your sister rather than you, never forget how important you are to me. After all, you’re the one who made me a mother. I am who I am today because of you – a grown woman who knows the names of all the Paw Patrol characters, who can recite Stick Man from memory, who can survive on only a few hours of sleep, and who can’t make a decent-looking cake to save her life but can make a pretty freaking amazing human being.
I love you to the moon and back.