Tuesday, June 2, 2009

To Have and to Hold

They told me babies should not be held;

It would spoil them and make them cry.

I wished to do what is best for them,

And the years sped quickly by.

Now empty are my yearning arms;

No more the thrill sublime.

If I had my babies back again,

I'd hold them all the time.

Written by an American mother in the 1920's

As my due date gets closer and closer I am beginning to feel an old familiar sadness. The sadness that tells me that my baby will no longer be the baby. It was definitely the worst w/ Suzannah. She had been an only child for 3 years and the idea of bringing a new baby into her life and turning it upside down felt wrong. I felt guilty and sad. I was so deeply in love w/ her that I knew I wouldn't be able to love the baby in my womb nearly as much. My sweet mother was so patient w/ me and reassured me that there would be enough love. And much to my surprise....there was. I was as deeply in love w/ my sweet Molly Beth as I was w/ Suzannah. Although it was a rough transition for her, Suzannah was better off having a sibling! I learned a lot about God's love for us. The ability to love all of us the same. It was profound to me and I was so glad to have this new understanding of His love. When I became pregnant w/ Jack my Molly Beth was still such a baby. She was still nursing and in diapers. I felt guilty again. How could I nurture her and give her all she needed, still being so young, and care for a newborn? I knew this time around that there would be enough love. I was excited to love a boy and see how different things would be. But I was worried for my sweet baby girl. Jack was born and my heart was so full watching her care for him. It was like I had given her the best present ever. She didn't act slighted a bit. Much of that can be credited to her lovely laid back personality. God gave me what I needed to be able to love and care for both of them (not to mention Suz had just been diagnosed w/ Type 1 which felt like another newborn I was caring for). I learned a lot about how God provides for us in times of need (namely my parents moving to Longview, ha!:) and the overwhelming joy He must feel when we love and care for each other.

Now here I go again. I don't feel guilty b/c I see the many blessings that come from having a younger sibling, it's just that things change w/ every baby. I know Jack will adjust beautifully. He loves babies and really isn't that high need, it's mostly me. I can't help but worry that there won't be enough of me to go around and spend the time w/ each of them that I want to. I just have to trust that if I give my priorities over to God, He will sort them out and help me provide the love and attention for each of my babies that they need.

I love the above quote. It expresses something that is important to me. I know that I will have many regrets as a mother, but not holding my babies enough will not be one of them. I have had many people criticize me for holding my kiddos as much as I do, and that's ok. It's ok b/c I feel so strongly that I must! I can't help it, it's what my heart tells me to do! I know that these times fly and I must savor all I can. I held Suzannah for almost every nap she took up until Molly Beth was born!!! I did it b/c I could and I was willing to deal w/ the other issues it created (aka literally holding her all the time!!). It made her feel secure and was beautiful bonding time for me. I still rock Molly Beth to sleep every night! It's a special time for her and I at the end of the day. She shares things w/ me and we exchange lots of snuggles and kisses. It's special to both of us. I still carry Jack when we go places even though he is perfectly capable of walking. I know most people think I'm crazy! :) It's great to have them right there so that you can talk to them and teach them and listen to what they have to share. It makes me feel close to him and it makes him feel secure w/ me (slings are the BEST! I think everyone should have one!!!). While I love all these things, I know they will (and should) change when the time is right. Suzannah sleeps on her own now, I know that Molly Beth will be able to put herself to sleep someday, and I have full confidence that when I decide to put Jack down he will walk.

This new baby will bring about some of these changes. Each of my babies will grow up a little bit more. And that's good. Creating that security and building confidence is what I hope to accomplish. And that manifests itself in them growing up. I learn so much w/ each child. Having children (and probably even more so w/ the more children you have) gives you so much more insight into the way God loves us. What will I learn from having 4 children? I don't know but it's getting very close. I'm getting very excited to meet this little one and see how she reshapes our sweet family. I am savoring every moment w/ the 3 I have and holding them just as much as physically possible. Ha, I was just thinking.....maybe I won't regret not holding them enough, but my knees and back may regret holding them too much some day! HA! Time will tell ;)


The Venables said...

Love this post, Stacy! I have been getting that "sad" feeling lately about Mabry not being our baby anymore and wondering how she will adjust to all the changes. I know giving her a sibling is one of the greatest gifts we can give her. I know I will miss getting to hold my sweet Mabry all the time and still getting to put her to sleep. I know others think we are crazy, but I am right there with you! I so much enjoy holding my child and spending those sweet moments cuddling with them to go to sleep. I know she will be all grown one day and all I will have are the memories. I know I will cherish them! Thanks for the encouragement and reminder that I am not crazy, no matter what others say! Can't wait to see how God blesses our families with our new angels! Much love!

Laura said...

That was so sweet! You are such a sweet mommy and your kids are going to remember how much you sacrificed for them! If you are known as the crazy lady for holding and loving your children, then what a wonderful thing to be crazy about!! BTW... I know you are crazier for so many more reasons anyway!!

I still think it's a boy :)


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