all photos in this post: Bella Baby Photography
I spent nine months - and more, even before I was pregnant - worrying about how having a new baby would affect my relationship with Lorelei. Her infancy was fraught with challenge and difficulty, largely because being plunged into motherhood was something my psyche just wasn't ready for. Whether it was the sleeplessness, the hormones, the nursing difficulties, or just the dramatic change from full-time Me to full-time Mom, I struggled for months. And as a result, I think, my relationship with my amazing little girl is one of fierce loyalty, because what else could have kept me going through all of that? So even though I was excited to bring another little baby into our family, I felt desperately sad about how it would change the close bond between mother and daughter.
The first night after Phoebe was born, I was alone with her while Jason went out to dinner with Lorelei and the extended family we had in town to celebrate - and he ended up being gone for hours to help put our big girl to bed and gather a few things to bring back to the hospital. Stuck in bed, unable to put her down to use the bathroom or eat much dinner because she was so fussy and ravenous herself, I cried and cried, thinking about how much I wanted to be the one singing "our" lullaby and stroking her hair instead of being tethered to a baby who had no relationship with me yet and, but for one reason, probably wouldn't notice if I wasn't there anyway. It felt like The End of our happy little threesome.
But Lorelei has always had a funny little way of teaching me valuable lessons that I really need to learn. My fierce love for her is reflected now in her fierce love for her sister - the adoration she feels for "Baby Phoebe" is palpable (in fact, sometimes Phoebe would probably prefer not to have her sister be so touchy!). Constant kisses, running over to check on her, looks of concern when she fusses or cries ("Mommy, Phoebe needs some milk") - Phoebe is usually the first word out of her mouth when she gets up from her nap or gets home from playing at the park with Daddy. Lorelei couldn't care less about other people's babies, but her baby? She's the most important thing in her world right now.
And seeing that fierce sister love is helping my fears to subside and my own love for Phoebe to grow and grow. Those sad hours in the hospital are a distant memory and are being replaced by happy memories of cuddling with my squishy little newborn who grunts when she sleeps and always smells a little bit like spoiled milk and that hard-to-describe new baby scent that fades much too quickly. And my relationship with Lorelei? Just as close as ever, even through her growing pains as she adjusts to being one of two. I know there's a long road ahead and many bumps on it, but I know we'll all make it over them together.
And as I watch my two daughters begin to know each other, I'm reminded, often, of this beautiful quote I once read on another blog:
To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. - Clara Ortega
Here's to my girls growing ever young together.