Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Joy of Difference

I can vividly remember being pregnant with Dash and holding and snuggling Fin, trying to push away the dull ache that came with the knowledge that soon, very soon, this perfect little creature was going to have to share my attentions - and my heart. Like any mother expecting her second, I worried how it would be possible for me to love ANYONE as much as I loved Fin. I worried that I would resent Dash for taking so much of me away from Fin. I worried that Fin would suffer for this new addition, an addition that we had very much wanted and planned for to join our family. Because I was pregnant, and a mom, I worried and worried and worried...

And then Dash arrived. Instantly, the moment I looked into his little blue eyes, it was like my heart added a special chamber just for him. A separate piece of me, nestled up right where my love for Fin continues to grow. And just like that I had just as much love for Dash.

I can honestly say that I have never for a second resented Dash for the attention he diverted from Fin. Instead I love him all the more for the attention he has ADDED to Fin. Even in the early days when babies and toddlers looked to be the two most incompatible forces in the universe, I would get small previews into our future. The way a mother's heart melts when she sees one of her children, all on his own, make the other smile with joy. Little glimpses into the life where two boys became favorite playmates and the best of friends.

We're so there.

My new bliss is watching them both grow, together and apart, and finding myself ceaselessly amazed at the differences that become more apparent each day.

There are moments when I catch Fin doing something and suddenly I am my mother watching me. He carries so many shades of myself it is both exhilarating and terrifying all at once. When he focuses on accomplishing something, look out world because it will get done. He talks back and is constantly searching out new ways to challenge me. He is astonishingly quick witted and so incredibly stubborn that it often takes a village of experts to convince him that he might be wrong. He is all boy, rough and tumble, push and shove and yet he hates getting messy. He is strong and yet he is extremely sensitive. If someone falls or gets upset, he is often the first person rushing to their side and trying to hug away whatever ails them. While I can attribute 90% of his attitude and personality to my gene pool, he also has the most amazing imagination - and that is something that comes directly from his father. He is constantly inspiring me to think in new ways, and not just about Star Wars :) In so many ways I am forever grateful that he was my first because he has pushed me to grow in ways that only attempting to raise yourself can.

As much as I can see myself when I watch Fin, it is Brooks that I see when I watch Dash. Teething not withstanding, he is nearly always happy. He is calm, even tempered, and since birth has seemed to have a "zen" about him. He is an "old soul". He is creative, drawing with crayons when other children would be eating them and taking great delight in building the tallest block towers. He is incredibly gregarious and in his element when surrounded by as many other children as possible. When we drop Fin off at school, he sometimes looks at me, lost, and I feel sorry for him that he has to lose his comrade for that brief period. When given the opportunity to play with the children his age, he will largely ignore them in favor of Fin and his crew. I think if he were able to talk, he would assure you that he is in fact the same age as his brother and all his friends. And he holds his own as if that were the case, running just as fast, trying to push just as hard, and forever trying to pedal their tricycles and big wheels. I am torn between wishing for him to catch up and holding him back with all my power. Most amazingly, he shares his father's soothing touch. When he puts his hand on my shoulder (as he strangely often does) it holds the same steadying and calming effect as Brooks' hand always has. Of course it makes me wonder what woman will be lucky enough to someday benefit from it as I have. Seeing so much of his father in him makes me love him all the more.

And now we're about to grow again. To welcome another boy into the bunch. As Dash snuggled with me today, I did worry a bit how it will affect him to lose his status as the baby. I'm a mother, that's my job. But I'm also looking forward to the journey ahead. I can't wait to see what this little boy will add to our lives, how he will complement Fin and Dash and whose personality he will more closely resemble. Perhaps I'll find that he's more of a combination of us both. Maybe he'll be a whole new and unexpected version of us.

Most of all, I can't wait until that first time I catch Fin and Dash making him laugh, all by themselves.


Cara said...

I loved reading this particular post as you meditated on your two sons and what of you is in them, and what this new boy might bring to the family. My fiance is the eldest of 3 boys, and I wonder what our children will be. I'm not in a rush to be a mother just yet, but I will be quite curious to see what good and bad traits I pass on, and how a child will change me. Also, I imagine if I am blessed with a boy, my almost husband will be wanting to teach him all about Star Wars too.

Sister Janet M. Purcell, IHM said...

I love your writing, Maggie. You and Brooks are doing a wonderful job with the boys and I know the next son will have a great family to share his life with.
Went down to see jeanne yesterday. Your Mom looked tired. Buddy and I feel so bad for Joanne to have all this to deal with by herself. Thank God she has your dad.
Love to all, Aunt Janet