A Letter to My Son, Who Will Soon Be a Big Brother

August 28, 2018 | add comment

This piece was originally published on Motherly.

Dear Elliot,

You turned two-and-a-half today. Sometime in the next few weeks, you’ll turn into a big brother as well. Before that day arrives, here’s what I want you to know.

I hope I can love baby sister or brother as much as I love you.

Deep down, I know I will. But you consume so much of my heart that it’s hard for me to imagine devoting as much love to another tiny human. How does that happen? (Other moms tell me it just will.) In Whoville, they say, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes one day. May I be so lucky.

I know you know change is coming. 

You’re excited to be a big brother but anxious about the changes it will bring. Suddenly you’ve been wanting me to spoon-feed you dinner, or sing just one more song before bedtime, or stay just one more minute (then one more after that). You tell daddy to “go away!” even though you adore him. It’s your way of getting the most out of me, because on some level you know I won’t be as available once our baby is here.

I’m sorry I can’t carry you like I used to.

I’ll tell you something, honey bear—sciatica is no joke. After carrying you up 23 steps to our front door one too many times, my back said “no more.” I ignored my needs and ended up needing a few weeks of physical therapy and chiropractic care as a result. Lesson learned.

Since then, you’ve been prepping for your big brother role like a champ, and you don’t ask to be carried much anymore. But just the other night, you awoke from a bad dream crying and saying, “Mommy, carry me up the stairs!” My heart shattered into a million little pieces. Growth is rarely linear. 

I’m nervous. 

Nervous that I won’t be able to give you as much attention as I do now. We won’t have as much time for puzzles and books and running around the house in our firefighter hats putting out imaginary fires. 

I’m nervous that the anxiety I experienced in your newborn months will creep back in with a vengeance. Nervous that the sleep deprivation that comes from caring for two children will make it even worse. Nervous that I’ll again find myself striving for perfection instead of embracing the imperfect

But I’m so proud of you.

I know you’ll be an amazing big brother. I know it will take time to adjust—for all of us. You’ll never be the only child after this. But you’ll be able to teach our baby so much! You already love singing to my belly and giving it eskimo kisses. 

Lately, you’ve been taking words and changing them ever so slightly to make new ones. Yesterday, the robin in the park became a “robimp” and the elephant in our storybook became an “elephamp.” I can feel our baby giggling already. 

And I’m proud of myself too.

Because growing a human is hard work. Growing a human while both working and raising a toddler is damn hard. It’s exhausting, painful, never short on emotions, but worth every second. 

More than anything, I’m excited to watch you two grow up together.

You’ll play, you’ll fight, and you’ll develop a special bond reserved only for siblings. One of your favorite bedtime songs right now is “Marty Moose” (aka “The Wally World National Anthem”), which I memorized as a child in the ‘80s because my brother and I were obsessed with Clark Griswold and family in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The other day, after I put you down for your afternoon nap, I heard you reciting the final line of the song to your stuffed animals: “Hyuk! That’s me. Ahuhuhuh!” I texted my brother immediately.


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