Building bridges

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?

in anticipation of some bridge building,



About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Joey Espinosa
    10 October 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Not a mom here, but I’ll still contribute. 🙂

    With 3 kids, we’ve seen our share of squabbles. But mostly they get along really well. Just yesterday, as I was napping on the couch, the 2 boys (7 & 4) were quietly playing with Legos together. What a great site to wake up to!

    I had concerns over this child-bonding and -feuding when we had our 2nd born. A mentor/friend told me that as long as you continue to pour love into each, then the children will not resent each other. Seems so true in our lives (again not perfect, but overall).

  • Kim
    11 October 2011 at 12:24 am

    Thank you Adriel for hosting me today on your blog; it truly is a big honor for me as your blog is one of the most well-written, thought-provoking, honest, inspirational blogs I have ever found!! And I am so happy for you and your family and hope you are enjoying this wonderful moments with your newborn!

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      16 October 2011 at 8:54 pm

      Oh, thank you Kim! Your words mean a lot to me. 🙂

      I AM enjoying this time with my little Jude. Thanks again for contributing such a great post. Really love your writing and your perspective! x

  • Nessa
    11 October 2011 at 4:51 am

    As a mommy of one – trying for number two – I love this. What a beautiful way to put it all.

  • Rachel J.
    11 October 2011 at 7:45 am

    Beautiful post, Kimberly! Thank you for sharing this story. I am expecting #2 in a month, and I think the thing I am looking forward to most is watching him bond with his older sister. It’s so beautiful to watch love develop and grow.

  • Alison@Mama Wants This
    11 October 2011 at 9:23 am

    Kim, beautiful post and such an important perspective of building bridges. I will certainly take this advice to heart when my son becomes a big brother one day!

  • jacqui
    11 October 2011 at 11:11 am

    I love this post, Kim! And the photo of two sisters bonding is priceless! I can’t wait to hear how they’ll react to the new girl when she gets here. 😉

  • Runnermom-jen
    11 October 2011 at 1:09 pm

    What a beautiful post, Kim!! I remember having these exact same feelings as our family expanded. I always found it harder making the jump from one to two kids, than from 2 to 3. You’ll be amazing with your 3 girls 🙂

  • this is our gypsy camp
    11 October 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I only have one, but my sister just had her second son and we have been discussing the potential issues of sibling rivalry or competition for attention. We’ve been noticing that some people seem to parent in a way that encourages family unity and love, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Good insight.

  • Kiddothings
    11 October 2011 at 4:38 pm

    What a beautiful post Kim. I never looked at how I’m loving my kids – whether as individuals or as siblings. That’s a whole new perspective for me. I’d like to think I’m building bridges between them too.

  • Catherine Johnson
    12 October 2011 at 1:18 am

    Wonderful post Kim! My eldest was much the same and I was in the middle of selling a house and moving across the world when my second was 8 weeks old. The adjustment period was so hard. Don’t they just change overnight. I kind of missed the old them, but you get used to it. Being without his toys and having no friends was the hardest part for me. All good now though 🙂

  • Stasha
    12 October 2011 at 3:34 am

    This is so simple yet escapes most of us. Great realization to come to Kim. Very important with you own children of course, but I will try to incorporate in everyday life too. One can never have to many bridges.
    And congrats to Adriel on her new arrival!

  • casey
    16 October 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Fun read and I can totally relate to it:) I so don’t want to be preggers in our Southern humid Summer…I hope I can miraculously avoid that when it comes time for #2! The only thing I didn’t get was nice skin in pregnancy. My skin was horrible and I even got a rash on my arm and neck that didn’t go away until about a month ago. Crazy! lol.

  • Alicia
    19 October 2011 at 7:57 am

    Wow, this brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the insight on helping create that bond between siblings. It’s something I am going to ponder a lot over the next few months as we prepare for the arrival of baby #2.


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