Today I’m thrilled to introduce a new feature I’ll be hosting on Using Our Words. It’s all about you — my outrageously talented, insightful, artistic readers. I can’t tell you how many times I see your Facebook posts or comments and think, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that!” (Especially if it’s an artsy thing, because, well, you know.) So instead of envying you, I’m celebrating you. Right here on my blog.
While I’ve had this idea spinning around in my head, Kelly’s recent awesomeness inspired me to dive right in. I’ve known Kelly since we were itty bitty guppies swimming back and forth and back and forth across a swimming pool together. As the years (and laps) continued, I had the privilege of seeing her grow into a kind, funny, uber smart high schooler, and — more recently — I’ve loved watching from afar as she’s become a loving, playful, dedicated mom to Paxton. (See social media can be a wonderful thing!) And now she’s expecting her second son any minute. Yes, minute!
A few weeks ago, Kelly first caught my eye with her creative — and meaningful — nursery decor. Here’s what she had to say about it:
I had decided on a color scheme for the new baby’s nursery (light blue, orange, and chocolate brown), and had been looking around online for children’s wall art. Then one day I was cleaning out Paxton’s closet and I noticed some of his art pieces that I had stored away from his art class. One had some orange in it, one had some blue, and voila! I knew I had the perfect pieces to decorate the nursery.
I love this idea! What a great way to make baby #1 feel like a special part of baby #2’s arrival, right?
Then, last week, Kelly shared a beautiful letter she wrote her first son, Paxton, about the bittersweet feeling of going from a family of 3 to a family of 4. It had me in tears, and I knew so many other moms would be able to relate to her utter adoration of her first born, and her anticipation of her second born. She’s been kind enough to let me share it here. Grab a tissue and enjoy…
Wow, it’s hard to believe you are two and a half, and your little brother will be entering the world as an official member of our family any day now. I remember a dear colleague telling me once that, as a mother of two boys, she remembers clearly talking to her own mom before her second child was born and crying, “I’m afraid I can’t love anyone else as much as I love my first son!” And her mother replied with the wisdom shared by mothers everywhere, “Oh, honey. Love doesn’t divide. It multiplies.” I wasn’t a mom yet when she told me this story, and I remember thinking that of course I would realize that love simply multiplies when you have more than one child.
But then I had you. And now I know exactly how she was feeling. Of course I rationally realize that I am going to love your little brother with the same full heart that I love you, but there are times when it seems you have captured my whole heart completely, and the natural laws of division and multiplication don’t seem to make sense.
Then there are the days you challenge me. To be perfectly clear, you challenge my patience, my stamina, and my intuition. But understand this…you never challenge my love. And therein lies the beautiful connection between a parent and a child. No matter what you DO, your dad’s and my love for you remains constant. And that’s because of who you ARE…our imperfect and beautiful bundle of joy, pain, love, hope, and promise.
Before our family of three becomes a family of four, I want to share a moment between us that happened a few months after your first birthday (if not for you, then for myself, because as much as I want to believe I won’t ever forget it, I know there are a lot more moments that will stack up on top of each other as the years pass):
We were sitting on the stuffed chair together in the living room, with one of those crocheted blankets draped over our heads for a “fort.” The holes allowed enough light to shine through that we could see each other’s faces clearly, and you had the most genuine smile on your face as you leaned in and gave me a kiss, one that was self-initiated and spontaneous, that gave me goose bumps, a half turned-up smile, and a split second that seemed to last until you were a teenager too embarrassed to hear a story about kissing your mom, and then until you were a grown man, ready to make that healthy separation from your parents and into the arms of the one you love. Yes, that kiss made my heart burst, because it was full and broken at the same time. Because I knew instantly that as purely as you gave that gift to me, time and growth and the laws of nature would force you to forget it, so that you could learn to love someone else in the way all of us are meant to love. Just as I was keenly aware that the moment lasted no longer than a flash in time, the moment also seemed to slow down long enough to imagine your life, frame by frame, as it stretched into the future. And that’s when it hit me…the dichotomy of motherhood…the joy and the pain, the hope and the fear, the long days and the short years, the holding on and the letting go. I’ve never experienced a moment like that before, one that snapped and stretched, bonded and broke, all at the same time. So I want to thank you for that gift, one you won’t remember giving, but will be treasured in ways I can only hope you can begin to understand if you one day have a child of your own. For I have come to realize that all parents are perched on this precipice of privilege, and it is when I take the time to reflect on and soak in the view from this place that I feel most connected to that holiness from which we all come.
A new person is joining our family soon, one your dad and I prayed for so that you would have someone besides us to call your own, to call your family. And though I know you will experience the dichotomy of brotherhood…the embracement and the envy, the friendship and the rivalry, and the bond and the burden, I hope you ultimately accept him in the manner in which he is given…as a gift, one that fills you with keepsake moments that allow you to imagine your future life, frame by frame, divided by your individuality and yet, at the same time, multiplied, by the love that only a brother can provide.
With heart-bursting love, hope, joy, and gratitude,
“I belong with you
You belong with me
You’re my sweetheart”
A bit about Kelly: I live in Durham, North Carolina, a former reading teacher turned stay-at-home mom, who also works part-time as both a book coordinator for a leadership trainer and as a local food tour guide. I enjoy reading, eating out (hence the food tour gig), connecting with other moms (hence being a fan of Using Our Words), and, when time allows, playing a good game of Scrabble.