There appears to be a life long belief that you worry more about girls than you do boys. I suppose this stems from boys apparently being more independent and self sufficient (I don’t buy into it). Once upon a time, men were viewed as the stronger sex. We weren’t meant to worry about them because they were more than capable of taking care of themselves. Yet, between you and your brother, I don’t know who I worry about more.
When I signed up to be a Mother, I expected to worry. I’d heard that it was part of the deal. I just never realised the extent of my worry or how crazy it would be. I thought I’d worry about the basics: will my children turn out to be decent human beings? Will I be good enough for them? Will I be able to teach them qualities to be both successful and grounded? Will I keep them safe from harm? I didn’t expect to worry about the colour of one’s poo or how many ounces you’ve gained in a week. I don’t know if I worry more about you or less about you because you were premature! Your heart murmur and lung make you vulnerable and that makes me uneasy but I know you can cope. Even now, in hospital for the second time since you were discharged from NICU, I witness you fight infection like a hero. You’re brother, on the other hand, will be a different story.
When Tristan was 1st born, he was so vulnerable. Naively, I’d thought that all babies entered the world ‘ready’ but he wasn’t. He looked at his new surroundings in fear, looked at our faces in horror. When the house fell dark and quiet at night, I could see the torture on his face. I’ll never quite forget that look. Like a rabbit caught in the headlight, he was terrified. It took a tight swaddle and the sound of the womb on constant repeat to convince him that he was safe. It was then that I knew I’d worry about his vulnerability for life. You, however, arrived 9 weeks early and couldn’t have been more ‘ready’ to join society.
Much like his Father, Tristan is reluctant to accept change. It takes him time to adjust to new situations and scenery. I see him, even now at 15 months old, analysing every possible threat. He takes his time, moves slowly and assesses everything before he commits emotionally and physically. He’s bulky and sturdy yet delicate and fragile. He’s loud and playful yet timid and shy. I worry how he’ll adapt to going to nursery, then school. He doesn’t take to new people. He’ll be so scared when he has to venture out into the Big Bad World on his own. I don’t worry about you though, you’re completely different.
You’re only 5 months old and yet I can see your true colours perfectly. You’re like your mother, daring and venturesome. You take things in your stride, a ‘jump first, think later’ kind of girl. You see new situations as an adventure, you’re brave and ready to conquer. When the time comes for you to leave home, I know you’ll flourish because when you’re pushed to your limits is when you’re at your best.
I worry about you for other reasons.
Your brother has never had any physical ailments. He’s been slightly poorly once within his 1st year of life. He lasted a full 11 months before his 1st doctors appointment and has never even had a temperature. As I said earlier, he’s strong and sturdy. The day he falls sick, I’ll be beside myself. I don’t know his limits, I don’t know how much he can handle. You, however, can be pushed to limits I’d never believe were possible.
From the day you were born, you’ve struggled to breathe. Your pneumothorax was so severe that it left your right lung weak. In your 23 weeks of living, you’ve been hospitalised twice with breathing difficulties. I worry that you’re in pain although you don’t show it. I worry that you’ll go on to develop Asthma later in life. I worry that your lung will collapse again, in the middle of the night, while we’re sleeping and it will go unnoticed. There’s one thing that I don’t worry about you though, I don’t worry about your survival. I’ve seen you stare death in the face and know that it will never be an option. Your strength is admirable. You’re the strongest person I know and you’re only so young. Still, I can see it in your eyes, that strength of yours is permanent. This makes me worry for your brother again.
This time, I worry because you are going to be equally the best sibling around and a total nightmare. Your confidence will teach Tristan to take more risks. You’ll encourage him to be braver, to believe in himself. Your determination will drive him wild. He’ll forever give in to you. He’ll let you have your own way and will back down to keep the peace. Although, this will teach him that women should be strong and when the time comes for him to find a wife, he’ll admire strength and won’t be intimidated. I just hope though that you remind him that he too should be strong and that he too deserves to get what he wants out of life.
A lot of the time I worry about what the future will hold but why? Worrying isn’t going to make your lung stronger or your Brother more confident. So, I’m setting myself a goal here, I’m cutting it out. Worry takes so much joy out of things. Worry makes me forget to appreciate the little things. You both give me a million reasons to be proud. Until you or your brother give me real reason to worry, I’m putting worry aside…at least for tonight.