Before entering the realm of Motherhood, I truly never understood just how strongly I could feel about someone else. I’d always considered myself to be empathetic and emotionally astute but even then, I could also be so emotionally detached. As far as Motherhood went, I’ve kept no secrets that it wasn’t something I was looking forward to.
It always felt so hard to relate to those who swore I’d feel differently once you and your Sister arrived. Babies made me uncomfortable, nervous and a little scared. Even around your cousins and friends, I couldn’t relax in the company of infants. I didn’t know how to hold them – how to comfort them or reassure them. I assumed, in plain, that this wouldn’t change once I had my own treasures to care for.
It’s true though – what they say – you are always different with your own. Yes, it took me a few weeks to settle into the role of Mother but once I had, I knew it was my calling.
Both you and your Sister arrived into our lives like tornados! You came in screaming, threatening to disturb the peace, life-changing and altering all in an instant. You changed me eternally, made me so scared to envisage a life then without you…taught me true pain, true heart ache, true love. You showed me the flaws of my soul, showed me a way to want to be better!
Your Sister arrived even more turbulently, traumatic and harrowing, she taught us all that tragedy is real – that our lives aren’t protected, shouldn’t be taken for granted. Even though her story ends positively, her entrance made us all aware of just how precious life can be. She confirmed what you’d already taught me – that no one else matters, no one else is just as important as you two.
Life has been challenging recently, more challenging than I’m ready to admit aloud. Your Sister’s poor immune system seems to have darkened our spirits, left us all feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s made me question my parenting, evaluate how I can ensure you’re both safe from harm’s way.
It has matured you massively. It saddens me so much that at the age of three, you’re already so aware of the signs to look out for. You’re anxious and cautious, protective and caring. So caring! At the age of three, your imaginative play consists of administering your Sister her inhaler and medicine. You tell me to check on her, that she’s coughing and poorly. You worry so much; I worry that your heart is burdened by things you shouldn’t even be aware of.
The past few hospital visits have hit you harder than we all could have imagined. I sense it still plays on your mind, still lingers in your thoughts.
Suddenly, you’re nervous about me leaving.
38 months we managed without you being needy. 38 months we survived without attachment issues…and yet here they are!
You were only nine months when Siena entered so poorly. The five weeks we spent in hospital should be a distant memory by now but they aren’t. Moments of recent have taught us just how much they affected you. Last time Siena was in hospital, you cried for me for nearly three weeks after we returned. Even when I was there – even with my arms around you!
I remember distinctly a moment not long after we came home. I’d ran downstairs quickly to answer the door, leaving you and your Sister on the 1st floor. When I returned, moments later, your cries were so violent you’d nearly vomited. When I asked why you were crying, you told me “I’m crying for Mammy”.
One sentence, one small simple sentence broke my heart in an instant. Baby, you never have to cry for me.
Sibling rivalry was also something we manage to go unscathed by…although, undoubtedly, we’ve seen small glimpses of it…this wasn’t something that has ever truly affected us. Yet, it’s something that seems to be play a huge part in every day. You’ve become jealous of your Sister, resentful of the extra time and care she needs. I can understand it, it mustn’t seem fair that she gets to be carried for most of the day. I see it in your eyes (you’ve told me honestly, aloud), you want me just as much as she needs me.
It’s hard for you – having a sister with Cerebral Palsy affects you in ways I don’t think I’m even sure of. At most, we don’t give you credit for just how amazing you are! We expect so much understanding from you, expect you to help us when all you want is to be three…and free as all children your age are.
I wish I could magically change things for you. I wish I didn’t need to care for your Sister additionally. You know she needs extra support, for the main, you’re brilliant and understanding but I can see how it pains you – I can see why you feel the need to act out.
I can’t promise you the world. I can’t promise that I can protect you from heartache, from failure or hardships (although I swear to do my best to prevent them). I can’t promise your future will be easy, that you’ll get everything you ever need or want…but I can promise that you’ll never want for love.
What Motherhood taught me was that selflessly, my life is no longer my own. For now…it belongs to you and your Sister! Whilst you’re both so young and so needy, I’m yours as you need me! To cuddle, to protect, to make you feel better…to be tough when I need to be! For every fall, for every scrape or scratch – my lips are for kissing you both better…my arms are for wrapping you up and making you feel the extent of my love.
And of course, I promise that I’m never leaving so please don’t ever cry for me – I’m doing my best to make you feel that you’ll never want for my love, attention or affection.
It’s already all for you and your Sister!