You're welcome ... and I'm sorry: The end of our only-child family

Dear Olivia,

In about 2 months [update: 11 days] you will get the greatest gift that I could ever hope to give you: a sibling. He will be like you in many ways. His parents will be your parents. You will always have that in common. He will probably looks like you too, but different. And he will pick up many of the quirks and neuroses that we are no doubt passing along to our children.

I have always taken comfort in the fact that I have my sisters to talk to about issues related to family (mostly our weird mom and dad) (sorry, Mom and Dad). There will be times when you feel so alone, like no one else could possibly know what it feels like to be you. And that will be somewhat true. But you will have your brother. And he will have you. And my hope is that you two will keep that in mind and turn to each other when you need love and support.

Your dad and I love our siblings. But we did not always like them 100%. Like when Aunt Meggie was stubborn and wouldn't listen when it was time to clean up . Or when Aunt Amy Lou wanted to copy every little thing I did. Or when Aunt Maren would get out of doing chores because she was "too little." Bah! These were tough times on a big sibling. We knew we needed to love them, but man....it was hard sometimes.

We know that can happen. I'm not saying it won't make me a little sad. I want our house to be filled with love all day every day. But I will try to remember and understand.

Because we know that the gift of another sibling means the end of this very short era in your life. The era of the only child. Your dad and I got to experience this once upon a time, and we clearly grew wise and strong for it. But honestly we can't remember those years, and someday, neither will you probably. I'm not sure. Science can do some amazing things nowadays.

It is my hope that *I* remember these few short years, though, when you were my only little one. Mostly because I want to remember all my children's infancy and toddler years. But partly because this time has been special and unique. You made me become a mom. My own mom tells me that from time to time as well. I get it now. It is a special bond, and you happen to be my lucky first child who walked these firsts along with me. Your life changed mine forever.

I hope I remember

... rocking you in the living room for hours.

...watching you fall asleep on my chest after we had returned home from the hospital, hardly able to believe you were mine. And I was your mom.

...taking you to Baby swim time at Tamarack to do some of the first activity-based baby things we could think of. And watching every change on your face and little toes as you discovered the water.

...sitting with your dad at Bounce gymnastics, watching everything you did, and being so super attentive. Maybe too attentive. They wouldn't let us both hold your hands when we did the "mommy-and-me" activities, so we had to take turns.

...sneaking into your room at night after you'd fallen asleep, and coming back to the living room to report how cute you looked, and could we even believe we had made something so precious?

...taking turns trying to get you to eat baby food. Taking video of the whole messy adventure and sharing photos of your gooey face with everyone we knew.

...agonizing over our daycare choices. Sometimes convinced that the daycare was doing irreparable damage to you by withholding your pacifier. And other times convinced that we had nailed it by finding an affordable option that also taught you all the ABCs by the age of 2 and some sign language too!

When your brother arrives, we will be so prepared. What a fun family we have created so far. What a house full of love we've got. That is so directly tied to you, Olivia, and the joy you've brought just by being yourself.

I don't really like the idea that parents are more laid back for their second child. Nor is it fair to say that we "better" parents to our second child, or "worse." But we are different. We are more relaxed about some things that we can and should be relaxed about. We are more alert to other things. And we are all taking this leap together -- the adding of another family member.

You, Olivia, you seem like the one who is most prepared of all. You grab my belly and kiss your brother and tell him things. You think he is funny and silly. You felt him kick last night, and you told me that he was kicking just like *THIS* [ninja kick!]. Do you two already know each other? How did you get so wise about this little guy? I have no idea what he will be like and here you are, 10 steps ahead of me!

So here we go. He will be here any day now, and our family will be forever changed again. I am so glad I've got you with me for the adventure, Little O.

~ Mom

Here we are with our beautiful siblings! (Sorry Jake, this was the only picture I had of all 5 of us)

And here they are having a great time at our wedding reception. I could party with these girls for hours. HOURS. (And then I'd fall asleep)