Thursday, August 26, 2010

All My Love

Dave and I knew that bringing Evelyn home and into our family would be a potential challenge, but we were surprised in what ways. I had read about how to introduce the new baby to the older sibling and brainstormed ways to make Aiden feel included. We read him books and gave him things to do to help prepare for the baby and build his self-efficacy as an older brother. We even began adjusting his routine months before to what we expected it might be with the new addition. We expected a moderate amount of "acting out" and regression in his behavior and prepared ourselves accordingly.

Evelyn came into our home with a considerably minimal reaction from big bro. He instantly loved her and his longing to care for her and even protect her was visible. He easily adapted to his routine and quickly began building a stronger attachment to Dave, who had overnight become his primary caregiver.

The shock came with my reaction to our transition. I sat in my room, bound to my bed just days after a c-section, with 17 stairs separating me from the little person I had spent 3 1/2 years diligently caring for and bonding with. The tears that this resulted in overwhelmed me and surprised me. I felt guilty for not being the presence in his life I had been days before and guilty that the attachment I had with my little bundle had not yet matched that of her older brother.

Fortunately a very wise woman reassured me that our hearts cannot be divided, that love flows through them and is forever replenished like a stream, not a well that can be depleted and runs dry. She told me that we are able to love many things with our whole heart, as we love God, our mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends then our spouses and children. Love is never cut up like a pie.

Jane Nelsen offers this same concept in a beautiful demonstration using the flame of a candle. I love the thought of incorporating this idea into the unity candle that Dave and I lit at our wedding. Maybe I could devise a special "ceremony" for our family using it.