My daughter Lainey is five years old and I love her. She just became a big sister! Joseph is the sweetest newborn, who renders me powerless with his faintest coo.
A friend of ours brought Lainey to Mt. Auburn Hospital the morning after Joseph was born. Lainey burst through the door with a shy smile. She hugged my wife in bed and looked up at me as I stood beside the bassinet.
I hugged and kissed her and asked, “You want to meet little brother?”
Lainey was too excited to speak.
I carefully lifted the swaddled, sleepy little guy out of his acrylic basket, held him in my arms, and knelt so Lainey could get a better look.
“Hi Joey,” she whispered sweetly. “I’m your big sister.”
Lainey seemed afraid to touch him, and puckered her lips an inch away.
“It’s okay,” I nodded. “Give him a kiss.”
Lainey kissed Joey on his forehead, under his tiny beanie. Then she kissed him on both cheeks and his nose.
Joey was so tired he barely reacted. But Lainey didn’t mind.
“Can I hold him?” Lainey asked.
“Sure,” I said. “Sit on that chair.”
Lainey ran to the recliner, jumped on, and grinned. She scooted into the corner of the seat and I stuffed some pillows in beside her.
“Now keep your arms level,” I instructed. “His neck is really fragile.”
Lainey nodded excitedly as I placed the baby in her arms. Joseph woke up then, peaked open his eyes, and flittered his hands. Lainey improvised a song about his cuteness, and told him his name, “Joey Cute Standley.”
Later that night, while my wife and Joey slept at the hospital, Lainey and I went home. I was tired from the night before, and Lainey was too, but we both found it hard to consider sleep. Lainey blabbered on about Joey, and I just stared at her.
Lainey was so large, and her words came together to express thoughts. Little Joseph Dean couldn’t even hold his head up yet.
The contrast was striking and it made me smile.
Some parents worry they won’t have love left for a second kid, or might neglect the first. But the kids’ differences help you realize what you love about each of them. And, incredibly, the love grows even stronger than before.