“Are you going to be a mommy for Halloween?” My 3-Year-Old asked you, his beloved Auntie B.
You chuckled and said, “I hope so.”
I smiled and told you it would be an adorable costume and pregnancy announcement, wistfully remembering four Octobers ago when I announced first to you and aunt Hannah (my sisters) and our parents and then with your help to my husband’s family, that we were expecting our first baby!
And while truthfully I am excited for that day to come for you, I cannot help but realize there are other competing emotions in my heart surrounding your (hopefully) impending announcement.
I cannot help but realize that deep down, part of me is actually dreading your pregnancy announcement.
It’s not that I don’t want you to be happy; truly I wish you and your husband every good gift and joy in this life. I know adding a baby to your little family will be the latest and greatest adventure in your power-couple marriage. And I know you will make great parents because of how I have seen you both love my sons. I trust that my boys will take your little one under their wings and become fast friends and partners in crimes. I have always longed for our children to be like us, tight-knit, built-in-playmates, best friends, growing up together.
Maybe it’s my slowness in warming up to change, my comfort with the status quo. I don’t know how things will change between us when you become a mother yourself. Will you come to me for advice when you can’t get your baby to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time? Or for helpful hints on potty training (hopefully by then I’ll have that one figured out!)? Or will you be one of those moms who has it all together and not need my help? Will you still have time for me, for girls nights, chats, and outings with my boys?
Growing up, we were best friends, but also at times, fierce competitors. We were like twins, two years apart, with nearly identical interests – piano, clarinet, ballet, and both near the top of our class in school – so of course, there was bound to be some sibling rivalry. Was part of me happy when I did better than you or secretly relieved when you “failed?” Of course. Sin nature and pride sometimes got the better of me.
But deep down, I always knew you were the better woman. You inherited our mother’s knack for tidiness, time management, and organization and our father’s ambition, intelligence, and work ethic. And as I wrote in my college essay about our ballet days when you were Cinderella and I was the stepmother, it wasn’t always easy living in the shadow of my younger sister.
But for the past going on four years, I’ve had something you didn’t have.
I’ve been a part of something you haven’t yet experienced, and I have a life uniquely my own – motherhood. Motherhood for better or worse has kind of been “my thing.” You and Hannah have high-power careers, while I chose to be a mom and the main caregiver for our children. And while I don’t claim to be an expert, because by no means do I have motherhood dialed in, it’s kind of been my claim to fame and what’s given me the most sense of purpose. Is it possible that I fear you joining me in this adventure? Will I fall prey to the spirit of competition once again, or will I be able to maintain the peace in our relationship we’ve had since we’ve both become adults?
And so dear sister, I confess: I am afraid of the changes, and maybe even a little jealous, of all that still lies ahead of you. You’re still a newlywed, you still have that first positive pregnancy test, the first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat, the first hold and cuddle. Having two babies already, I don’t know what my own future holds, whether God will bless me with more children, or if He will decide we’re two and through. Will it be hard to see your belly growing while mine stays empty?
And perhaps my greatest fear is that you’ll do it all better than me. You’ll remember more and in greater detail, you’ll document all the firsts better and richer and stay on top of your monthly photos. You’ll keep your house tidy and do all of the activities I wish I had time for. You’ll be spared the heart-wrenching pain of postpartum depression, the agonizing anxiety and crippling OCD.
I have loved motherhood, but because I love it and my boys so much, it has also been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You have always succeeded in everything you’ve done. Not without struggle, but you’ve always overcome. I’m just not ready to share this with you yet, but I will be when your day comes.