One year from yesterday I entered a new phase of motherhood. I imagined that having a second child would offer up new perspectives on life and parenting, but I didn’t anticipate becoming a different mother.
Amelie, daughter number one, taught me to share. I will actually willingly share my dessert now. Sometimes. She showed me what raw, uncensored emotion was, which is making me more empathetic bit-by-bit. She’s brought to my attention how unreasonable I am when things aren’t done my way, and made it hard to ignore my OCD tendencies. Most recently she has been a reflection of me, in how she interacts with strangers, how she expresses her anger, and how she cares for her loved ones and belongings.
But when Simone was born, daughter number two, a whole new set of lessons arose. The existence of a new sister changed Amelie’s family role from the moment Simone took her first breath. This affected the way Amelie interacted with her new world, which brought up things that I’d never analyzed about myself before. How do I acknowledge when people are helpful? How do I deal with noise when the baby is sleeping? What is my take on fairness? It turns out that I’m an angry mother, but a generally happy friend. With two very different daughters teaching me varying sets of lessons I am constantly reminded of who I want to be in the end. I want to be a good friend. Where would I have found such useful tools if I never had children? And such different children?
The benefits of having more than one child don’t stop at the companionship between sisters or brothers. Multiple children drop you down to another level, which may otherwise take much more work to reach. Having another child humbles you in knowing that their character really doesn’t have much to do with your superb parenting. They each bring their own mirrors for you to look at yourself, and they make you appreciate other parents more. The judgements become fewer and fewer because each child has their own unique world to give their parents, made up of numerous lessons. You won’t learn the same lessons as any other parent, but you’ll recognize the look of struggle. When you see a mom dragging their screaming child down the aisle of the supermarket, you can actually appreciate what that mom is going through without questioning their parenting . All children bring up new lessons that we learn to work through, and grow from.
Simone was born July 21st, 2014 at 9:45 am in a horse trough birthing tub after 5 hours of labor. The sun twinkled on the water as I held her, floating on her back, looking up at us with her dark grey eyes, awaking from the other side. This year she has taught me what it means to level; she has led me to the understanding of what it means to be humble, even though I likely will not master that virtue within this lifetime.
With each child is born a brand new world within us. What worlds have your children shared with you?