Lori of Lavender Luz challenges us to look the perfect moment. If you look hard enough, they are all around you, you just might not be seeing. The more you see, the more you will find. Which was my thought as I stood in The Big Brother’s room last night staring at a photo.
But in the beginning…
I was a steadfast on holding onto my motto, “I’m a BOY mom!” My other battle cry, “NO! I am not going to have anymore, have you met my boys?”
The Big Brother had to have been in ear shot of all of this. Afterall, I do have a big mouth. But as is his habit (or anyones, for that matter) he had fine tuned the skill of selective listening.
He was in second grade when the family moved in across the street. A gorgeous family with three adorable little girls. His favorite, Baby Mollie. He couldn’t get enough of her. Blasting into the house he would brag about how good they said he was with her. To which he would use as ammo to plea, “see Mommy, if you have another baby, I can help you, cause I’m good at it.” While I was touched… this was not enough to motivate me for further sleep deprivation.
Another tactic he used in his ongoing argument was his assurance he would not leave me “all alone” in the hospital. “Remember when Little Brother was born and I came to visit you? Wasn’t that nice? If you have another baby I will come and visit you, again.” All very touching but still, I was remembering the much wanted, neglected hamster I had been caring for and was not completely buying what he was selling. Touching as it was.
So, imagine his great joy and delight when much to our surprise, The Big Brother was going to get his wish. A Baby, just what he always had wanted. The newness of his two brothers had worn off long ago so he couldn’t wait for his new brother or sister.
I don’t recall him wishing for a brother or sister but I remember he wanted to name a baby girl, Tootsie. He thought it would be great fun to be able to call her Toots. Boy, girl, he didn’t care, he was on board, 100%.
When Madeline arrived he in love had been making great plans for homecoming. I remember being just so sad for him, when he was told Madeline was rushed back to the hospital and would be there for many weeks. That, was not what he had been planning. He had been practicing for this moment for 9 months.
But good to his word, he was a faithful visitor and from the start, an adoring, loving Big Brother. Any chance he got, he was at her side or picking her up, or squeezing her with all his 10-year-old might. I could just kick myself for all the times I begged him to “give her space”. Because I learned too late he just couldn’t get enough of all that cuteness…no one could.
When finally, Madeline was going strong and spending more of her time at home, Big Brother took full advantage. A favorite memory, I was taking her to get a picture taken in her Easter dress. He skipped a laser tag party, grabbed his Sunday best and insisted on private photo session. And yes…it was that precious.
When Madeline died, within moments I thought, “I cannot tell him, how will I tell him, his much adored, desired Baby Sister is gone.” In the end, I wasn’t even there when he was told. A teacher whose care and compassion carried The Big Brother through that year, was there. She said she will never forget that moment.
As time has passed Big Brother, with some strong faith and guidance, seems to be in a different place. Gone are the days of him asking can we “get” another baby, can we please adopt, Mommy?” The permanence of this loss was too much on his heart and mind but he has seemed to tuck it somewhere inside himself. Slowly, I thought, he had moved on. He had ceased talking as much about her and requesting to “visit” her in Chicago. All healthy, I was assured, but still, caused a sadness in my heart wondering if he thought of her still or had he, perhaps, outgrown his Baby Sister.
But 13 year old’s nature being what it is, I had not thought of a good way to ask without causing any unnecessary trauma. Also, I knew I needed to be happy for this contentment and maybe I should be taking notes.
The Big Brother uses his new treasure, his I-Touch as an alarm. After learning we were going to have a weather delay, I went into his room where he was sleeping to turn off his alarm. I picked up the I-Touch to crack the code on turning off the alarm, then I pressed the button to turn on the screen. And much to my heart’s delight and through a few tears this is the screen saver I saw my Big, Boy’s Boy 13-year-old I-Touch.
Don’t misunderstand, I am very glad that he has found peace. But I cannot tell you the warmth that filled me up to see the Forever Love he has for his Madeline and the quiet ways he has found to keep her close.
My heart is grateful for that perfect moment in time to witness such sweet and tender-hearted love for Madeline that I mistakenly thought had faded away. Perhaps, instead, has found a deeper place to grow.