Will I Have Enough Love?
She’s so beautiful, so engaged and smart, so distracting, so able to convince her mommy that she definitely needs to go to the potty only to be placed down on it and then laugh openly, proving that she’s taken me in yet again. I’m being tricked by a nearly-two-year old. Regularly.
After giving her this second benefit of the doubt with the potty, I endure the yelling and kicking while I wrestle her back into bed, and then further endure the calling out to me that subsequently persists for a solid ten minutes. It’s the same “Mommy, pee pee!” that I have heard already now, twice, and know can’t possibly be true. She just doesn’t want to go to sleep yet. She isn’t ready to relinquish control and I think I know where she gets that trait. (Ach-hem.) I yell back once, “Go to sleep, Echo. That’s enough of that!” I have already kissed her goodnight three times. She knows she is loved.
When she is finally silent and sleeping, I tiptoe in and my heart swells at her perfection, curled into the side of the crib, her little hand protectively placed under her pajama top against her tummy, her blankets askew and toy monkey half-strangled by one of her arms. I cover her up, adjust the poor monkey, and stare at her, longer.
How can I love another the way I love her? How can there be more love than this? When she squirmed on my chest for the first time almost two years ago, I realized that I had never known love until she came out of me.
I. Had. Never. Known. Love.
And now two?
They say that love is an ever-replenishing well. It is not quantifiable. In fact, all the polyamory readings and engaged discussions I used to have with my ex-partner and other people involved in open relationships said the same thing. They said that, if you can purely rid yourself of jealousy and insecurity, then you can be truly loved and, likewise, truly love multiple people without shortchanging anyone. It is not a finite pie with a reduced number of slices for every new person who joins the party; it’s an ever-flowing stream.
Polyamory was hard. It broke my heart. I couldn’t do it fully and I found that out the hard way.
But, is love for children like this? The pure kind, free from adult insecurities and jealousies? Will my heart swell twice every night for each little set of arms and legs, sleeping ruby lips, velvet skin, gentle sloping infant brows? Will my heart convulse the way it does—but twice—when I even dare imagine something harming them? Convulse twice as hard and twice as much? Or, half as much, half as hard?
I’m less than two weeks away from my due date with baby #2 and these are the worries that clog in my throat. My heart cries out for Echo when I get too wrapped up in these thoughts. Maybe I am all the more easily manipulated by her right now because of my worries for her? I fear she’ll feel left out or less important or less central to me, when I only want to make both babies central, equally important, equally a part of my mothering. Will she know this? Will she feel this?
I light a candle tonight in the spirit of all the mothers of multiple children who have told me that it will just work out, that I will love the second with the same intensity without losing any intensity from the love I have for the first. They say it is like a candle that never burns out—just more light, more flame, more love than I ever imagined when I was just the mother of one.
Can there truly be more?
The wind is howling tonight. Today, we stayed indoors and watched thick white flakes blanket the world outside the windows leaving the trees dressed in white garlands—gorgeous in the afternoon light. And now, in the winter darkness, the wind has pulled the snow from the boughs’ surfaces and scattered it into drifts. I wonder what the world will look like tomorrow, shifted by the pushy air, full of the flight of night.
I must take these night sounds as a sign of needing to sleep and curl up under covers. I need to put these fears to rest. I need to simply let nature take its course and then marvel at the beauty that is left in its wake. That is what new life is: nature’s trail on our lives. And this new one will be as beautiful as she is. He is just as welcome. He will simply open our hearts that much wider than we ever imagined possible.
One day I will write: “I thought I knew love after Echo was born, but then our second child taught me that love can grow yet again. Who knew there could be more?”
This is me looking in. These thoughts are all that soothe.