You are no less special because you are second.
Instead, it’s cliche-true that you completed our family.
I look at your bright smile and feel compelled at gut-level to gently nuzzle you as you laugh, or hold you serenely as you nurse.
And I do nuzzle you—but not often enough because your big sister has needed me for some other big-kid problem the entire time you were nursing. Also, you climb down off of my lap the second you’re finished breastfeeding to play with her, so there is significantly less opportunity to gently hold you anyway.
I held your big sister as she slept on my nursing pillow because my primary concern at that time was letting her sleep and holding her. You, however, are second.
It’s true that you were forced to cry in your crib to sleep. To be fair though, honey, I don’t personally believe in crying it out and, even if I did, you prefer sleeping in your crib anyways, because you toss and turn while you slumber.
I have so many important things to say to you that I can’t get them all out—my head is moving faster than my fingers are typing.
It’s also true that because you’re second, your baby book doesn’t have those cute little notes that reflect each thought as I had them about your teeth appearing for the first time or your first steps.
These things are no less special to me because you’re second.
Actually, if possible, they are more unique because, even though I’m an identical twin, I realized for the first time how truly different people are, as I watched you do the same “firsts” in completely your own way.
At first, I’ll be honest, I compared you to your big sister.
I asked, “did she do this that early?” or “doesn’t she have that same look on her face?”—and then I stopped.
I ceased—even internally—wondering how you did things as compared to her because I had fully begun to appreciate how special you are, although second.
Yet your baby book sits on the buffet table behind the nicked antique dining table, where I type. It sits only barely filled out and—each week!—I tell myself this will be the one I go back and remark at what you did, in writing, in your special book to grow up and keep and look back on.
I loved looking at my own baby book as a ten year old.
I loved looking at the surgery scars from my hernia repair in old Polaroids taped to somewhat crinkly pages. I loved touching the hardened plastic of my newborn hospital bracelets and I loved seeing my mom’s beautiful “teacher” cursive as I perused it.
Your baby bracelet is in a Ziplock bag with the one I wore after having you, in one of the boxes from our move a few months ago. Even your birth was quick and felt over too fast—a half an hour elapsed from parking the car to holding you in my arms.
I hope you know that you are loved no less than my first born, or find untrue proof of this in your book not happening in “real time.” Further, I hope you have a book to even read.
Because the reason your book isn’t done is simple, although it still feels awful—it’s because I was there as you went through your firsts.
At times, I dashed for my phone to hungrily snatch an image to keep. Others, I did this for your dad who was at work. Often times, I ignored my phone and experienced the tender yet prideful swell of my mommy-breast as you did all of your firsts.
And your first tooth? I was trying to survive—I’ll be real.
I was trying to get through a day when I had slept very little the night before and I had a busy-you and a busy-older-sister too.
I will say more to you than, “You are no less special because you are second.” I will meaningfully add on that you are my first child who reminds me more of me than your dad. (I swear your big sister is Daddy in pink glasses.)
I will offer as well that you are the funniest person I know, besides your big sister. I feel like a total asshole in saying this, but give me a chance.
I had you four years apart from your sister because I wanted more than a sibling for her—I wanted you.
I wanted you in your baby form. I wanted you and the no sleep you brought with you. I wanted your firsts and I knew they might likely be my lasts—I wanted to be able to enjoy you as a sister to my oldest and also as the person who you are, but I’ll admit I’m overwhelmed with joy when I see you already laughing and playing together, with her.
You are quite a person.
You seriously are hilarious and—even funnier—your 11-month-old self knows this.
You are my full heart when I go to sleep and you are the smile that I want to wake up to.
You are different and more unique than anyone I know and I love you not more or less than your older sister, but as you.
I love you.
And your baby book? It’s currently, as I suggested earlier, behind me, in a basket on the buffet. Its incompletion does not reflect my complete heart. Alternately, I am here with you—I am trying my damnedest every day to appreciate you and your brand-new’s as they happen.
And I’m sorry that I had more time on my first-time mommy-hands to experience your big sister’s firsts and document them, but I wouldn’t change anything about our experiences thus far.
Okay—I might want to note in perfect print the ridiculous look you had on your face as you tried banana—for the fifth time because I could not believe you didn’t like it (at all).
I would note the way you puffed up your baby chest as you walked backwards before most kids even walk forwards. I would, even more, like you to know that it’s all mentally jotted down and hopefully outwardly shared before it’s lost.
I’m afraid it will be lost.
But, if it is, know that it was for love and not for lack of it.