Dear Family and Friends,
I think most parents of multiple children would argue that they love each of their children equally. I think most would say that the quantity and quality of the love they bear for each of their offspring is exactly identical. I remember while being pregnant that everyone told me that my heart would grow to accommodate the love that I would have for our new baby...that rather than dividing what love I felt for Everett, new love would grow in spaces yet unused. And all that is true. But what I find isn’t true, or maybe just isn’t said, is that the type of love that a parent has for each of their children isn’t exactly the same. Maybe it’s just my experience but I find myself loving my two boys differently. While I think (and hope) the quantity and quality of love are the same, I know the emotions that go with loving each of them are as uniquely different as they are.
The love I have for Everett is a primal love, born of my strong instinct to protect him. I’m used to fighting for him, advocating for him, worrying for him, pushing him to be the best he can be. It’s an intense love. And for how intense it is, it is equally as vulnerable. Because loving Everett, at least for the first few years of his life, came with the possibility of loss. At times it was hard to fully open my heart to him because the possibility of losing him was so huge. Call it self-protection, but there were always moments of reservation, seconds of holding my breath, and an unspoken knowledge that every day I loved him more, was one more day of hurt I’d have to endure if he died. Thankfully, much of these emotions have faded with time, but he can still make my heart stop just by saying his stomach hurts. And when he started stuttering after Reece was born, I found myself back in fighting mode, trying to get him the help I thought he needed. I will always have a strong desire to care for him...maybe because he spent so much time being cared for by others. My tendency is to do too much so that I’ll never have any regrets. And my ultimate goal is that he knows just how immensely he is loved.
Falling in love with Reece has been how I always imagined parenthood to be. After the sleep-deprived fog of the first eight weeks lifted, I found myself completely enamored with this little butterball of a baby. The love I have for Reece is an easy love, a peaceful love, a confident love. Born of normalcy, my love for him is without fear or anxiety. There is no questioning if milestones will be achieved and I’ve found calm in loving him. I’m content to let him do things on his own and I’m less inclined to panic where he is concern. I find myself more ready to play and less focused on outcome. And I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy each moment of his “babyhood,” living in the moment instead of looking forward to the future. I’m falling more in love each day and cannot imagine our lives without him.
Until Reece, I never fully realized just how much normalcy we missed with Everett those first years. I’m so, so thankful that in the story of our life, Everett came first. I think the journey would have been exponentially harder if we had known how things could have/should have been. Instead, we find ourselves ever grateful for both our boys, miracles in each of their own unique ways. The love we bear for each of them is built from different foundations but carries equal strength in our hearts. As they grow, I hope they learn to love one another as fiercely as we love each of them.
With Growing Love,
The Bollinger Family