By Kimberly Zook, Zook Book Nook
By the time I gave birth to my second daughter, her 22-month-old sister was building towers out of blocks. Absorbed and independent, my oldest daughter could sit for 40 minutes while looking through books or playing with toys. She no longer needed me to hold her while I cooked dinner or browsed books at the bookstore. The umbilical cord connecting us had begun to stretch.
Then I came home from the hospital with a new baby, a little girl who was suddenly in my arms all the time. It took one month for it to completely sink in, and then my oldest daughter realized that this little sister of hers was here to stay and even worse, her baby sister got to be in my arms every waking moment.
Like a rubber band, my oldest daughter rebounded into my arms, pulling on my pants, crying “pick me up” as I tried to cook spaghetti while wearing my newborn in my sling. I mastered the double-arm hold with one daughter in each arm as I walked into grocery stores. At nap time I struggled with being torn in two: which crying child do I help get to sleep first? When playing on the blanket with both of my daughters, I felt like I never gave my newborn baby enough attention as I had to keep her older sister occupied so she didn’t roll on my baby. The baby album, the milestones chart, the first foods checklist, the daily photo… all of these things that I had done for my first child never saw the light of day with my second child.
For the first few months I saw my daughters as separate entities. Two little beings that needed individual care, love, attention and help. There wasn’t enough of me physically, emotionally, and mentally for both of them. I was attempting to build two towers that kept tumbling down, and I felt completely drained.
Then one day my oldest daughter brought her baby sister a toy. She sat down and giggled at her sister. A few days later I placed my baby girl on top of her older sister’s belly and the erupting giggles melted my heart, which only swelled to overflowing when I watched my older daughter wrap her little arms around her baby sister in their first hug.
I realized then that building a tower isn’t the only milestone in a child’s life, so is building a bridge.
From that day on I have witnessed my daughters connecting with one another in their own unique way. I see them as individuals and give them my love and affection individually, but my daughters taught me something on that day full of belly laughs and hugs: I can love my daughters together, I can love them for also being sisters.
In two months time I will give birth to my third daughter. My heart flutters in anticipation of the days to come when her older sisters will pull on me, cry for me, look longingly at me when I can’t hold them, but I am also so full of joy knowing that the simplest way to love all of my daughters is to build bridges with them. We are all connected through love.
Bio: Kimberly Zook is a military wife and a stay-at-home mom to two, soon to be three, daughters. Although she has lived alone in a hut in the middle of a Costa Rican rainforest, swayed in a high rise during typhoons in Japan, cycled up and down Vancouver Island, and dodged in and out of Washington, D.C. traffic, the adventure of being a mother is the most exciting ride of her life. Kimberly also thrives on the small minutes she gets each day to write. She is the author of short stories and literary essays, and published a digital magazine for one year that featured creative writing on motherhood and nature. She blogs daily at Zook Book Nook.
Dear friends, not only is Kim a wonderful writer, she is also a very wise woman! (Thank you for your beautiful post Kim.) I am taking her exhortation to heart – to try and help my children build bridges with one another rather than exhaust myself trying to only love them individually. Such a timely message for me personally as our family expands to two children. How about you? How have you helped your children build bridges with one another?