You are the one who first gave me the title of ‘Mommy’. You introduced me to fears I did not know existed within me, the strength I never thought I had. For you, I could do things I would never imagine doing for anyone else (and I’m not just talking about changing smelly diapers here). You were the be all and end all of my life. So much so that when I found out that you were going to have a sibling, I was afraid I would never be able to love anyone as much as I love you. You were you after all, no one else could come close.
Until it happened one day, when the baby came into our lives. We all adored the tiny hands and feet. We loved playfully competing for his attention, trying to make him smile as he grew everyday. Our little world was changed forever. Your little world was changed more than anyone else’s. Your face, your hands, your feet suddenly seemed bigger. You grew up in a matter of hours. Or so it seemed at the time. What we expected from you changed too. Suddenly it felt like you should know better. You were the big boy after all.
My patience started to grow thin. After all, my life had also been shaken from its comfortable, mundane ritual of living each day exactly the same as the previous one. Caring for a newborn took precedence over a five-year old’s requests to play hide and seek. I don’t think I can ever forget the look on your face that day when I was at the end of my rope and yelled at you to stop bothering me and go find something to play. A few months ago, you would have stomped your feet and cried buckets of tears. That day, you just hung your head down and left the room. It was like you had given up on me. I can never think of that look on your face without my heart breaking into a million little pieces.
Every day I woke up with a fresh resolve – to be a better mother to you, to spend more time with you, to just listen to what you had to say without any rush. Some days were good, some not so. It has been an emotional roller-coaster ride, the last few months. Sometimes I feel like you have handled it better than I have. So far, you have not shown an iota of jealousy towards your little brother. You love him, he loves you, it shows in the way you both interact with each other.
The question in my mind is – do you still trust me like you did before? Or do you now look at me as a fault-finding, badgering, no-fun-to-be-around parent? People say kids are much more resilient than we give them credit for. Maybe it is true. Maybe I am beating myself too much for not being who I used to be with you anymore. Maybe a few months down the road, you will not even remember the pain in the neck I used to be. Or maybe in my sleep-deprived, confused state of mind driven by strange hormones, I have changed the dynamics of our relationship forever (hopefully not).
There is one thing that I am sure of though. You are and will be my best little buddy forever. In your own special way. Just like your little brother is too (like you say – “it doesn’t always have to be a race”). I just hope you will forgive me for not sticking up for you, for not being the best listener always, for not giving you as much time as I used to and for being the tantrum-throwing adult sometimes. Thank you for being patient with me and still loving me at times when I don’t even like myself. Slowly but surely, we will find a new normal again.