I worried if my oldest son would feel lost during the transitional period of adopting our daughter.
As people tripped over themselves to meet our new addition, the second one in just over a year’s time, I wondered:
Would he feel overlooked?
Would I expect too much from him?
Would he eventually adjust to having a sister, even though he was quite clear about wanting another brother?
Would the needs of the smaller babes be louder than his needs, causing them to get more of my attention?
Would he feel ignored?
The short answer to most of these questions is, yes.
Yes, at first he did feel overlooked.
Yes, he did adjust to having a sister, instead of another brother. Thank God
Yes, the wee ones would need more & scream louder, therefore receiving more immediate attention.
Yes, he would need to wait a few extra minutes to ask questions.
Yes, he would be expected to help out more around the house.
I also learned, this wasn’t a bad thing.
He’s growing up.
He can read fluently. Count to the highest of numbers. He is gaining a Spanish vocabulary. He’s kind & funny…and as his mother, I naturally worry about him.
I’m constantly concerned that I will miss something important. & then some day, years from now, at a family dinner, that I’ve somehow managed to arrange despite everyone’s crazy schedules, all our kids will joke about how oblivious I was to this or that.
I’m concerned that amidst all that laughter I will catch eyes with my son & they will show a deeper hurt than I ever realized existed…& it will say without any words “you didn’t notice my pain” or “I never felt like I mattered”.
Those who know me, may chuckle at the thought of this actually happening. But, it’s one of my greatest fears [that I’m working on overcoming!] & so it’s naturally one of the things I focus on the most, in hopes to prevent it from coming to fruition.
So last week when me & my oldest had an afternoon to ourselves, I asked him, for what probably felt like was the billionth time…“so do you like having a sister?” He gave me a look that I quickly responded to…”I know! I keep asking you, I just want to make sure nothing’s changed….” He replied with a chuckle, “It’s just that it will never change. I LIKE having a sister.”
My heart melted. He was fine & I needed to just let him be fine. I needed to stop making such a big deal out of something that wasn’t a big deal to him.
He got a sister in an unconventional way & that seems pretty normal to him. Which leads me to believe that our children are beautiful, resilient, adaptable, humans & we need to let them be.
I am constantly overhearing conversations between them, darling interactions where she will run through the house to show him the bows in her hair, he gasps & then tells her how beautiful she is & she smiles SO huge.
When she tries to act afraid of something & I hear him say, “don’t be afraid Izzy, you are a strong warrior princess!” She then perks up & conquers whatever seemed to have been just too much just moments before.
But one of my favorites was when I overheard him talking with her, when she had given up on trying to do something she thought was too difficult…
“what does that say?” I imagine him pointing to a window pane I have hanging in the front room that I write different sayings & greetings on. She doesn’t reply, because she’s three & can’t read. So he follows up, “it says: We can do hard things! Which means you can do this! Now try again.”
So many times I feel like I’m failing miserably at life in general. Moments like these gently remind me that I’m getting some of the things right. Phew!
And if these weren’t proof enough, of how he is adjusting to our new addition. The other day he said something that solidified it for me. They were playing together, he was teaching & gently guiding her, as he always does. He not so secretly loves having someone to boss around. I was sitting at the table working on something, when he was suddenly sitting next to me & I hear him sort of whisper, “that’s my girl”. I looked up & saw his proud face as he watched her accomplish something in a different room. & I said: “are you talking about your sister?” & he said “yeah”, as if it should have been obvious.
I may worry about each of my children, hoping that they grow up into strong, kind, & loved individuals. But I’m reassured, almost daily, that they really are becoming exactly that, fantastic, loving humans & this brings me some peace through this chaotic parenting journey.
What are some special moments you’ve had with your little ones? What are some precious interactions your kids have had with each other? What are some things you try not to worry about, when it comes to your kids?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Or on my Facebook & Instagram pages.