Dear second child,
I see you. In the background, laying on your activity mat. I am frantically peeling a banana to appease your big sister's demands while cleaning milk off the floor.
You reach over and grab your toy and I am SO proud of you. I see you.
You smile and coo to yourself and tears threaten to spill from my sleep-deprived blood-shot eyes.
You are 4 months old and I have so many things I've been meaning to do. I want to cuddle you on the couch while reading all the books I loved reading to your sister.
I want to help you explore sensory bins, feeling the rice that I dyed various vibrant colors between your sweet little fingers.
I want to lay with you in the grass, gazing at clouds and soaking in the feeling of you discovering your world.
But your sister just disappeared with a red crayon and has been quiet for far too long. So I dash to her, disappearing from your sight.
I am so sorry.
I want to sit and stare at you and memorize every smile and giggle.
I want lazy days in bed like I had with your sister.
I want to spend hours just laying in the sun at the beach with you while you nap out in the fresh air.
But there are no quiet, cuddly nursing sessions. There are no cozy, carefree days. It's all business and I'm operating on survival mode right now—and barely keeping it together.
You are so sweet. So happy. You fill our days with laughter and joy. But right now, you are in your activity center while I make dinner.
The guilt overwhelms me as I watch you out of the corner of my eye during another negotiation with your sister over what we will eat tonight.
I want so badly to slow down, sing to you, dance with you in the kitchen, babble with you while I prepare dinner. But I am so distracted. So exhausted.
I feel like I am failing as your mother and I am sorry.
The rush of dinner, bath time, stories and bedtime is a blur. You love bath time and I make sure we spend an extra few minutes together, laughing as you splash and kick in the water.
I love these few moments we have. We read stories in your sister's room before shutting her door and saying goodnight.
This is our time now. Our last nursing session of the day. I snuggle into the chair with you, kiss your head, and breathe you in.
I stare into your eyes and memorize every inch of you. I tell you how much I love you and how wonderful you are. I say I love you before laying you down in bed and sneaking out of your room, the door closing gently behind me.
I did it. I survived another day. A wave of delight and gratitude washes over me, taking the guilt away with it.
You, my second child, are so incredibly special. I love you so fiercely and I am so proud of you. You learn and grow every day and I admire you endlessly. I am in awe of you. I am thankful for your easygoing nature, your abundance of giggles and infectious smiles (seriously, you are the happiest baby I've ever met).
I love our small moments together—when I catch a glimpse of you in your car seat mirror and am overcome with love. When you fall asleep on me while we're at the park pushing your sister on the swing. Our middle-of-the night feedings where I can take all of you in and snuggle you peacefully in the 3am silence only a mother knows.
I don't remember life without you and you complete me in a way I didn't know was possible. And you deserve my very best.
I try, little one, I really do.
I try to make sure and slow down. To dance with you in the kitchen. To give you those extra minutes of bath time. To rock you in that chair a little longer.
I want to sing to you. I want to read you an extra book. I want to pause. To stop. And see you.