To my oldest daughter as my second baby turns ONE:
What a year it’s been, sweet little one. I am in awe of what a big girl you’ve become over the last year and in watching you become a big sister. I am beyond proud of you.
Before little sis came along, my life revolved around you and only you. Your every cry. Your every movement. Your every breath. I was there. Although you really didn’t understand the change that was about to happen in our lives, you could certainly sense it.
You instinctively knew that I wasn’t going to be able to be there for you in the same way I had been the 23 months prior. And it pained me to know I wouldn’t be able to be there for you in the same way, too. Thankfully, you have an unbelievable bond with daddy, and it’s been awesome to watch how close you two have become.
On the eve of your sister’s first birthday, I was reflecting on where I was at that moment one year ago. I thought a little bit about being in labor and my excitement to meet Baby #2. But most of all, I thought about you. For 23 months, bedtime was always ours. Yours and mine. Our time to reconnect from our busy day. On that night one year ago, I rocked you to sleep with bittersweet tears in my eyes. I knew I was in labor and that everything would change for all of us. But mostly for me and you. I held you extra-close, for extra-long, while you drifted to sleep. Daddy took over as your default “bedtime keeper” after that.
My sweet girl, you are so smart and so thoughtful. I can see the wheels turning in your head as you think through situations and experiences. Your ability to reflect and reason blows me away. You are constantly observing. And as a result, I don’t believe for a second that you are unphased by any of this. I am thankful that you allowed me to “test” my parenting skills on you (bless you!). I am not perfect, and this last year has shown me that over and over again. But you never give up on me and you always give me another chance to make it better.
Life’s not easy for a two-year-old, especially when you add in a new sister. But you’ve weathered the storm and have come out on top. Your tears may be fierce, but so are your kisses. I promise you that it will all be worth it. I promise you will be a better person for having siblings – they will push you and shape you in ways no other will. It has been amazing to watch this shift and formation in you already begin. I look forward to watching you grow into a leader; not only of this family, but in all you do. Little sis is so lucky to have you. And, she will always be there for you – you will have a best friend for life.
I look forward to our ever-evolving relationship – I know it will ebb and flow in the years to come. But my heart holds dear that special time spent when it was just me and you. My love for you is not less because your sister came along. Thankfully, as I learned, a mama’s heart grows in love, making room for new additions. You are my soul and my greatest teacher. A part of my heart will always be with you, a part that no one else in this whole world will get to claim as theirs. You were my first. You made me a mom. And you are mine.
A version of this piece originally appeared on shannonsands.wordpress.com
About the Author
Shannon Sands is a: wife // mama // child birth enthusiast // avid researcher // breastfeeding advocate // new blogger // friend // sister // daughter
from: omaha, nebraska.
family: two girls. one husband. one goldendoodle.