By Missy Borman
Your love is going to be cut in half. That’s how it is. The same thing happened to me when you were born. Get used to it. I did.
Overheard from the third-row of the SUV: 8-year-old son Ozzy telling 5-year-old son Lucas what’s going to happen when their baby sister is born next month.
I had just had my 20-week ultrasound. Watching the fuzzy image on the screen, baby seemed more real and more beautiful than ever before. In the midst of my baby bliss, as I drove my older boys to baseball, plenty of doubts began seeping in about how I was going to manage it all.
Then I heard Ozzy’s words. As I frantically processed them, my initial reaction was sadness that Ozzy felt slighted. Had his dad and I really left him to feel less loved since his brother was born? Enter every mom’s constant companion – guilt! And then relief, relief that he could express his feelings, that his words, though harsh, were said without resentment or anger. In fact, they suggested resiliency, a sense that he had coped with a difficult situation and moved on. Get used to it. I did.
Then, of course, there’s the little one’s reaction. His face smushed up with worry, a sort of desperate plea that this won’t, in fact, happen to him. As my husband and I chimed in to reassure the boys that no one is losing any love, Lucas remained locked on Ozzy. He asked him question after question, talking right over the grown-ups. This marked a significant turning point. No longer were my husband and I the authorities. Ozzy’s word was more trusted than our own. That’s how it is.
The boys had their own ideas, and we had to see that now. This bond between brothers was unique amongst siblings, and it left parents out. In this moment, it also showed a complete disregard for their parents’ feelings, as we overheard all of this, hearts breaking!
I had to come to terms with the fact that my boys were older and wouldn’t just take my word for it any more. No matter how many clever ways I tried to keep them close to me, to reassure them that they are special once new baby arrives – “date” nights, trips for ice cream, tickets to baseball games, etc. – the kids were going to experience a sense of loss. And so was I. My boys were growing up, into individuals with their own interests, passions, and experiences. And I was about to have a newborn to take care of who would demand a huge amount of my time and attention.
As I faced this change, I was comforted by the fact that my boys have each other, proud that our family can talk openly about difficult things. Isn’t this part of what being a parent is all about – making independent people who can care for themselves and be generous to others? By “taking the love away” had we indeed worked toward fulfilling our obligation as parents?
I like to think so. Now that the baby is six weeks old, I see my boys grow and mature, cope with the new baby and even thrive. I see more love than ever, and I hope they do too. Plus, the extra date nights, ice cream runs, and baseball games don’t hurt!
Missy Borman is a Pittsburgh native who lives in suburban Detroit with her husband and three young kids, Oscar, Lucas, and Eve. She has spent over a decade teaching a variety of grades from preschool to high school. In her free time (as if!) she enjoys cooking, reading, and watching sports with her kids.