For several nights now, I’ve woken up in the middle of a sound sleep with one thing on my mind, sheer terror about the upcoming birth of my daughter, Wren. It’s such a strange waffling act that we expectant parents do, isn’t it? We can’t wait to meet our child, but are nervous beyond belief about how we are going to make all of the pieces work when they’re born.
I fully admit that although I am over the moon to meet my daughter and on most days can’t help but get misty thinking about she and Henry playing together, there are those hours, right around 2AM, when it all comes crashing down.
How will I make it all work when Andy goes back to his job? Will there be enough of me to go around without either child feeling slighted? Is Henry going to feel really jealous and try to poke the baby in the soft spot when I’m not looking? The list goes on and on and my anxiety goes up and up.
This has always been a HUGE flaw of mine. It’s something that Andy has to deal with on a weekly basis. My brain starts “ticking”, as we call it, and it “ticks” out of control. We even instituted something called “my brain hat” which I am supposed to wear when I start spiraling. It’s a big Elmer Fudd looking hunting hat. It’s supposed to work as a reminder that I need to mellow out. Most of the time it works too. But at 2AM, I feel bad rousting Andy to talk me down from my ledge and it would make too much noise to sift through our mess of a closet for “the brain hat”. So I stew on it.
Last night was bad. I was nearly having a panic attack about the fact that the baby might come early and we don’t have anything done for her yet. Andy was out cold beside me and so, as I usually do, I went out to the living room to try to drown my sorrows in “Inside the Actors Studio” YouTube clips. If you’ve never seen the Dustin Hoffman interview, it’s great. Wow, he really is kind of crazy though. Anyway, James Lipton and his stack of blue cards wasn’t hacking it for me… at all.
Henry didn’t ask for this baby and now here we are forcing him to interact with it and give up his mother to it. We already moved him from the house that he was a baby in without his say and now we’re giving him a sibling, which we are saying is for his benefit, but is it? Tick, tick, tick, tick. Wow, I had actually forgotten what a great movie Marathon Man is. Andy and I should rent it this weekend. I’m going to miss the one on one time I have with Henry so much. I can’t believe that it will all be over in nearly two months. Tick. Tick. Tick. TICK. Meredith, stop!
You must get deja vu, right? We all do. Well, sitting there last night, I had huge deja vu. I had deja vu of the nights about two months before Henry was born, around 2AM, sitting up, laptop on, brain ticking away.
How are Andy and I going to do this? We don’t have the money for this? This baby didn’t ask to be born to us and yet, here it comes, being born to two people who have no clue what they’re doing. What about Andy and I? Our lives will never be the same. The focus won’t be on our relationship anymore. We wo n’t have all of this time together. What if this little boy drives a wedge between us because we won’t have time to be together anymore? Tick. Tick. Tick. Meredith, stop!
Look what happened, Henry came and yes, your life was never the same, but that was the best part of the whole thing. It became fuller and more full of life. It brought you and Andy closer together because you were working toward one goal, raising a family. You’ve never been more happy with your life than you are right now. You can’t imagine going a day without seeing that little face or hearing that sweet little voice. It’s as if he’s always been here… it’s as if SHE’S always been here too.
I love my son more than anything in the world, but there’s an empty space in our lives still, a little Wren shaped gap, that can only be filled by her. It’s always been there. We knew when we had Henry that we were a two child family because we felt it even then.
We all make leaps, some of them are big and some of them are small. Starting a family, having Henry, that was a pretty big leap and look how incredible it turned out. From now on, when 2AM rolls around and my brain starts ticking, I’m going to try to remind myself that having Wren is a leap that we already took. It’s a path that we already paved and left plenty of grappling hooks and foot holds to help us find our footing again. So, thank you Henry and Andy, because I can’t think of two better climbing buddies to make the trek with.