Our youngest son is nine and a half months. And I remember this from his brother: nine and a half months bears some new resemblance to personhood.
For awhile, I thought I had loved B sooner than I loved Lou, but that’s not it. It’s that with Bram, I loved motherhood. I was falling in love with motherhood. And that was new. But it still took awhile to understand the canyon-deep love that is parenthood because to love someone canyon-deep, to love them middle-earth-deep, you have to know them. And that takes time.
At three years, that is clear. At three years, loving right down to your child’s marrow is easier than breathing. Easier than breathing.
But now, at nine months with my youngest child, the canyon-deep is coming.
Until recently, I was content to surrender Louis to J for the nights: I hold him all day. He is yours now. But now, I climb into bed and reach for his hand. Now all day isn’t enough. Now there is no enough. Already. And instead of thinking why did this take me so long I think how magical must the Bluebird be to have me here already.
So here’s to second children. Loving them is all about them because the you part is already sorted. Loving them is just as canyon-deep, and seeing them is just as sweet. Maybe sweeter because it’s all about them. Louis did not make me a mother; he made me his mother. His mother, who gets to notice things first (alongside J, of course).
Who gets to know how much he loves foot rubs.
And that he loves to have his hands held.
And that when you say his name he lights up with his whole body, as if the very creator of the universe were holding him close. As if no one has ever felt more loved.
That if you say his name from across a room he will catapult himself towards you.
That he loves to crawl with something in his hand such that whatever it is thuds loudly against the floor with each forward gesture. That the thud of the forward gesture brings him glee.
That a thousand moments a day bring him glee.
That when he drops something he gasps and raises his hands in a gesture of panicked surrender. Of surprise.
That he is infinitely surprisable. That nothing is already expected by this child. That everything is a gift, and so new. That everything is treasured.
Made of gratitude, this one, and delighted to be here. And oh to be near him. To be near him is to be led by his tiny hands to the sweetest of things.
To second children, who bring their own magic in their own time. To my second child, who pulls his mouth to mine and belly-laughs into a kiss. Middle-earth-deep, you joyful soul.