Friday, June 08, 2007

Will we ever be the same?

Yesterday Kate at Sweet|Salty wrote:

We’re so drained. Our skin still smokes and hisses, fresh from the brand of tragedy, to the point where I wonder if we’ll ever be ourselves again.

No, you won't. No parent is. I was just thinking about this the other day. My husband has a friend who is 1 of 4 sons (he's somewhere in the middle). This guy claims that no one should have more than one kid because you have less love for each child that way. My husband and I maintain it's not a zero-sum game; parents don't have a finite amount of love. Love expands and grows with each new family member, whether from birth, adoption, marriage or some other way I can't think of right now -- but why?

The answer hit me last week. Each new person in the family brings out something different in you. I feel like a different parent now that The Cupcake is here and it is a very good thing. I have to figure out her moods and body language. I have to understand how to soothe her and, sadly, the tricks that worked with The Biscuit do not always work on her. In fact the things that soothed him the best and the fastest make her scream. And while that can be frustrating and frightening, she is changing me into a better parent that has even more tools to work with and better ways of coping.

We felt like we became experts on our son and his heart problems and how to navigate the hospital bureaucracy. Now we are newbies again. We are brand new to the world of a "typical" girl who doesn't have to go to the cardiologist and get echo cardiograms. In fact, the first week home I was taking her temperature all the time. She feels so warm to me despite a totally normal thermometer reading because he was slightly cooler than normal. And yes, it did take me a week to figure that out. It was my first clue that despite it being the second time around, I'm a newbie and have to learn all over again. But I know that I don't know, so that puts me at the second level, right? At least compared to last time when I was so lost that I didn't know what I didn't know.

Maybe it only makes sense from where I sit.


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