I wake up before you (a rare occurrence) and lay in bed listening for the sound of you stirring from your sleep. With a mixture of sadness and excitement I contemplate the day ahead.
Tomorrow I am booked in for a planned cesarean and with open arms I will welcome your baby sibling into the world. Tomorrow will be a momentous day and yet, right now, in this moment, my head and heart are too focused on you, my love, to be too preoccupied with what lies ahead.
Today is the last day I will be a mother-of-one and your last day as my only-child. It is our last together, just you and I.
I can hear you now, slowing waking. You are talking softly to the toy animals in your bed. You call out for me and I find you standing in your cot, your hair tousled from sleep, your arms stretched out reaching for me. At the first sight of me you exclaim “Mummy” with a joy that radiates from your sleepy little face.
Still heavy with sleep, you wrap your tiny arms and legs around me, nestling your face into my neck, and refuse to be put down. I carry you back into my bed and we snuggle down under the covers with daddy. The three of us welcome the sunrise together, whispering words of love, tickling each other and quietly reading stories.
Today, this last day of just the two of us, we take things slowly and I savour every moment with you. I put my phone away, disconnecting from social media and all my to-do lists. I immerse myself completely in you, letting you dictate the direction of our activities.
We have been inseparable, you and I, these past two and a half years. I have not just been your primary caregiver but also your playmate, your protector, your best friend. My life has been consumed with meeting your needs and wants, and you have held my complete and undivided attention. Every time you have needed me, I have been there unswervingly, heart and soul.
And so our day is spent, like so many before it, filled with the mundane activities that bring delight to a toddler. Together we play, dance, sing and laugh. I follow your lead as you explore the world around you. And while you find joy in everything you encounter, you in turn share that joy with me.
Suddenly, before I know it, our day is over. I carry out our bedtime routine with a heart that is heavy with sentimentality. I readily respond to every request for ‘one last story, one last cuddle, one last kiss’. But too soon you drift off to sleep. I hear your slow, rhythmic breathing and I run the risk of waking you by sneaking back into your room to gaze down at you.
You sleep peacefully, completely unaware that, as of tomorrow, your world will be turned upside down. I fret that I have not been able to properly prepare you for the monumental change that is upon us. If a few days time, when you run to me with outstretched arms asking to be picked up, what thoughts will fill your head when you are rebuffed? Will you understand my pleading explanation that ‘mummy can’t pick you up because she has a sore tummy from having a baby’?
It feels almost disloyal to be anything other than overjoyed to be bringing my second child into the world. And perhaps I am being dramatic, overly nostalgic and emotional (let’s blame the pregnancy hormones). But if I am totally honest with myself, the feeling of welcoming my second child is bittersweet. I know that tomorrow I will hold that tiny baby close to my chest and once again be overwhelmed with love and wonder how life could possibly have ever existed without them.
But right now, as I quietly creep out of your room, I am forced to acknowledge the truth; I am scared.
I am scared of missing you, my love. I am scared that you won’t get enough of me and, what’s worse, that I won’t get enough of you.
In the middle of the night I wake to realise that our last day is not quite over after all. You’re calling out to me and I quickly slip from my bed and steal into your room. I clutch you small body tightly against mine, your little bottom resting on top of my swollen pregnant belly. I feel your soft hair against my cheek and I breathe you in.
And as I do, I give a silent thanks to this small boy, who made me a mother. This incredible child, my firstborn, who showed me what it was to love someone from the deepest part of my soul. He taught me how to be truly selfless, unquestioningly putting his needs above my own. He gave me the greatest gift on earth, that of motherhood.
I lay you down to sleep once more and I ponder the changes that our family is about to encounter. Yes, my love, our family is going to evolve and transform into something new and different. That is inevitable. But we can still take comfort and hold tight to the truths that will never change. That is; that my love for you is constant, unwavering and endless.
You may also like to readAN OPEN LETTER TO MY HUSBAND; ON THE BIRTH OF OUR SECOND CHILD.
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