Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Second Firsts

Our dear friends from around the country, like they did last year, last time, are showering us with gifts in preparation for the arrival of our baby. Of course we have nearly everything we need already. We have had it for a year and need to dust some of it off.

What’s troubling me is that all that lies before us is all going to be new. It feels like we are first time parents, albeit grizzled by the experiences we have had. I have no earthly idea what it will be like to be up every couple of hours at first when he’s first born. I have only a vague concept of just how many times I am going to be peed on. I haven’t changed a diaper since my nieces and nephews were small all those years ago. All of this is going to be new to us.

Yet these experiences – our first time experiences – should belong to Baker. He should have been the one that we got to learn with, and make mistakes with, and laugh and cry with as we figured out parenting. So now we have these same experiences – still as unseasoned with a newborn as we were last year, only having these firsts with our second son.

It is a strange feeling, almost verging on disloyalty to Baker, though I know that is nonsense. It feels good to be a little bit excited again, and to let go enough to embrace that anticipation of being at the top of a roller coaster ready to take that gut-busting plunge over the edge.

I feel like I am contemplating the Universe – it is beyond comprehension – but I think about this baby on the way, and he’s our second son, but he’ll be raised as though he’s the first child. He’ll be our “oldest living” child. This baby won’t have his big brother Baker talking to him and playing with him and pushing him down in the dirt – you know, forming his little brother personality. He is going to be a different boy than he would be had Baker lived.

But even though this baby won’t have his big brother’s in person influence, he is forever linked through circumstance to Baker. If Baker had lived, we would certainly not have gotten pregnant so soon, and this baby, but for Baker, would not exist.

And that’s when my brain goes “pop.”

This is one of Baker’s gifts to us – a completely special baby brother, formed in the cauldron of our grief, a joy for our broken hearts and a balm for our wounds.

12 comments:

k@lakly said...

I have often said, written, tht while I do not believe that Caleb died so that his brother could be born, I do believe his brother was born becuse Caleb died. i think most who don't live in this db club, don't understand the ditinction. But I know for certain Cason would not be here without Caleb. Perhaps that's why some of my first words after he ws born were, "Thank you for him Caleb.".
It is indeed a gift.

Keeping good thoughts for you in these coming days.

Hope's Mama said...

I have the same commentary running through my head on a daily basis. This new baby certainly is a gift as there is not a chance in hell I would have been pregnant again six months later. If she were here now, I think I'd still be shuddering at the thought of another pregnancy, yet here I am now, almost half way through another one, and her first birthday is only a month or so away.
I will strike down the first person who mentions the words "first child" or "first time parents" to us.
So close now Chris, we're thinking of you from the other side of the world.

Mrs. Spit said...

Yes. I think K@alaky said it best. It is hard to live in a world that took a sudden turn, putting us on a path we never expected.

Monique said...

Although I haven't been lucky to have another pregnancy last after Sam died, I sometimes feel like I'm betraying him by even wanting another child - I can imagine everything you're feeling is twinged with excitement and sadness. Bittersweet.

erica said...

That's precisely where my brain goes "pop," too.

Sending love

Shannon Ryan said...

What powerful words that bring tears to my eyes. I have the same thoughts in my head.. getting pregnant 3 months after Dresden's birth would have been nearly impossible (I went 10 months after Gwen with no period due to her constant nursing!) for this baby to be here, he couldn't. I never want her to feel like she's in his shadow, but I hope she will always have a special connection with the big brother that came first.
It's so very soon for you!! I'm so happy and excited to hear your joyful news! :)

Maija said...

Chris, when we think of our dear friends, the LaPointe Family, Baker will forever be included in our thoughts. And we can't wait to meet his baby brother...keep me posted!

Cara said...

The second firsts are so hard. They are hard to congnitivly master, then to talk about. It is like we need a special language or code to convey them. I guess we speak that here. Although, I was shocked when I heard Bear, my second first, describe herself as such to a friend the other day.

Amazing...eerie...I don't know...yet still just right.

Lani said...

ah, Chris, what a beautiful post. this is a thought i will carry with me forever. our subsequent children are going to be extra special because of all this. I can't wait to hear the good news from you and dalene. i'm sure you are excited and terrified and you have every right to be.
sending you lots of love and healthy live screaming baby thoughts...
xo Lani

Misty said...

Thinking you you today.....

melka said...

no words, just the pops of my brain to accompany yours.

thinking of you, today especially.

CLC said...

I could have written this myself. My head still spins when I try to reconcile my "first" experiences. Denis is my first LC, but Hannah is my first baby. I still find myself getting pissed off when I have to ask another mother for advice. I think I should know this all by now because I should have learned it with Hannah. My thoughts are with you.