• The stork that wasn’t wanted

    Oh, horror of horrors — the damned test is positive.

    I neatly lined it up next to the other four tests taken the previous four mornings. They were all identical except for one ever-changing feature: the second line was getting darker.

    As I let out a sigh, I heard the happy babbling of my 13-month-old daughter, who just woke up. And, I did the only thing I could think to do: I picked up my smiling baby and cried.

    You see, I had this mama-to-one thing down pat. We had weekly play dates, went to the library, the park, and the pool, we sang songs, and we finger painted with pudding. Heck, I even broke the holy grail of parenting rules: I let my girl jump on our bed! Yes, Scarlett and I were rocking out the whole mother-daughter thing quite well on our own. No visits from the stork here, please and thank you!

    Yet, here I was. Knocked up. Again. I succumbed to my visions of what I believed would be my disheveled future.

    Mostly, I worried about Scarlett. I pictured her perfectly wide hazel eyes staring up at me, wet with tears as she watched me try to calm a screaming baby. I imagined the hurt she’d feel by our sudden lack of one-on-one time. I anticipated jealousy, envisioning my sweet, shy little girl going haywire, throwing tantrums at me and toys at the baby. I imagined the new child’s screams in the night, and the zombie-like being I would most likely turn into. I did not want anyone to intrude on our relationship in the ways that a new baby most certainly would.

    I’m not going to say what I’d envisioned was totally wrong, because a colicky baby and a bout with post-partum depression would prove me to be a liar. I had my moments. Moments when I worried that there wouldn’t be enough love and energy for two; moments when I held my crying newborn and could do nothing but cry with her.

    But then the unexpected happened, and I realized how nearsighted I was. My girls fell in love. It was a gradual thing at first. I would tell Scarlett to give her baby sister a kiss, and she would perform the task knowing that I’d praise her afterward. It was a rehearsed thing, I thought. Until one day her baby sister, Cecilia, was practicing pulling herself up to standing, and she fell back on her bottom. Scarlett jumped up, ran over, and asked urgently, “You okay, Celia?” And I melted.

    It kept getting better. If we went to the library and Cecilia was fussy, Scarlett would pat her sister’s little belly and lovingly assure her, “You’re fine.” Although Scarlett occasionally snatches her favorite toys from her sister’s grasp, she is more often found offering a toy.

    And they laugh. Oh, my girls laugh! These days I wake up to the shrieks of delight and giddy giggles of two toddlers who each love their sister somethin’ fierce. It’s a joy I can’t now fathom living without. In a few short hours, it will be one year since a new baby girl transformed our family, and it has been magical.

    I’ve learned that my daughters’ ability to love is greater than my ability to worry, and that, dear readers, is an awesome thing.

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