Nothing on earth can compare to the first baby.
When two people become three.
Two people who love each other and can't wait to share their love with a new person of their very own. Two people looking into each other's eyes and knowing the baby will be as amazing as the person looking back.
Then, holding hands and quietly looking at the baby together and marveling at her beauty. No baby on Earth has ever been this beautiful. Marveling at how lucky the three of them are to have each other.
Watching every little facial expression and every little movement. It's all so profound. This little, perfect person is us. It's like our hearts joined together and made something new, and it's living outside of us and still inside at the same time.
Then walking with a sweet little toddler, one hand in Daddy's big hand, one hand in Mommy's soft one. Both parents smiling down at their treasure and then smiling over at their partner in life.
When baby number two enters the family, things are different this time. Gone are the shared glances over the new baby or the precious toddler, replaced by two parents running after two kids going in opposite directions. Or mom up nursing in the middle of the night while dad is down the hall helping the three-year-old back to sleep. But the parents now have more than they ever imagined. They have the sight of their firstborn gazing quietly at the new baby, their new baby, a person in this world who will stand by them and understand them like no one else could.
They have the discovery of their two little loves, who are somehow each the parent's whole world, walking hand in hand, or sitting nestled together with a book, or having fallen asleep in a hug after one crept into the other's bed.
They have the one-child-one-parent time, which now feels like a vacation, a gift. As any opportunity for your child to reveal more layers of herself to you should be.
But that's not what I'm writing about.
I'm writing about THREE.
Three finally made me feel complete. Like everybody we were waiting for is here with us.
Three is a gift to the children in the family. This time, when the child meets the new baby, she looks over at her sister and shares a knowing look. This baby is our baby. We will all always have each other. It's not just the two of us braving the world now, we are a group. We have our US.
The children always have someone to play with. They always have someone on their side. No matter which part of themself they want to be today, there's someone who can understand them. Even if others can't.
Three is a gift to the parents, too. For one thing, they have the amazing phenomenon that the same two people could produce such different children. And maybe it's actually not about the parents and their hopes and dreams for their new child, but it's about stepping back and letting their children be. Be who they will be. And learning about humanity from them. Loving the differences, the beautiful individualities.
My three little ducks have taught me to give them space.
Space to have a tantrum and figure out how to deal with it on their own because mommy is helping someone else with their diaper. Mommy has learned that they will be fine without every need being met every second. In fact, they may be better off that way.
Space to forge out these sibling relationships in their own way. Because when it comes down to it, they will take care of each other whether I tell them to or not.
Space to be who they are going to be. Because they are more amazing than I ever thought possible, and no matter what their gifts and talents turn out to be, what matters is love and happiness. Which comes from who you are and who you have and how you treat them, not how well you do in school or on the stage or field.
My babies have the knowledge that they have a safe place to fall. A family of five that will love them no matter what. Ten arms make a good net.
I've been preparing this post in my mind, waiting to write it here until I was allowed to share some good news, and that time has come!
Congratulations R and S! I'm so excited for you! Three is a magic number!