Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Year Of: Raising Two

Brees Elizabeth will be a year old on November 15.  I know that every mother says
this, but I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  As I reflect on this last
year and all the adventures and milestones we have experienced, I hope that you enjoy
this series of posts about our family and all the things we have learned this past year.
A year of raising two...
No one was more excited about our new baby than Isabelle.  She was my biggest
supporter throughout my pregnancy: rubbing my feet, helping me shop and decorate,
taking my monthly photos, making scrapbooks.  She has, from day one, taken great pride
in her role as the big sister.  While many of our family and friends worried that she would
be jealous of the new baby, having been the only child for 6 years, I knew better.  Isabelle
has a very loving and generous heart.  She loves taking care of people and works very hard
at any task she is given.  Being the big helper is something she takes very,
very seriously.
After Brees was born, my aunt brought Isabelle into the room to meet her baby sister.
I will never forget the look on her face as she walked in, tears in her eyes, excitement
pulsing through every fiber of her being.  She ran directly to me, hugged me gently, asked
me if I was okay.  After I assured her everything was fine, we sat her down and placed
Brees in her arms, two sisters meeting for the first time.  Isabelle sat up very straight,
her arms perfectly poised in position just as the nurses had taught her in her big sister
class.  She smiled and kissed the baby softly on her nose, breathing in her newborn
scent.  There wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Bringing Brees home and integrating her into our family and our daily routine did not
come without stress and worry.  I am a perfectionist by nature, always in pursuit of
making everyone happy, having things in their place.  Our first afternoon at home was,
of course, nothing like I had planned: we came home to a leaking hot water heater,
resulting in our water having to be turned off for over 5 hours.  While the men
worked tirelessly to remedy this problem, I welcomed Belle home from school and sat
down to help her with her homework, our normal routine.  Except now, there was a
baby wanting to breastfeed every hour, needing her diaper changed, nestled snug in my
arms.  Our normal routine was no longer relevant, we could not concentrate on
homework with a crying baby, we had to adjust to accommodate the newest member
of our family.  And so we abandoned the homework and all crowded onto the rocking
chair, I nursed Brees while Belle read us a story.  This became our NEW afternoon
routine: mama and her two girls in the rocker after school.  Isabelle practicing her
reading while I nursed our new baby.  This was just the beginning of learning to
multitask to make everyone happy, learning to be together in a whole new way.
 Shawn and I have always put a big emphasis on the importance of family, the power of
our togetherness.  We are a team, a package deal, and together we can do anything.
There are days when Isabelle gets upset because her sister walked into her Barbie
fashion show, days she is sad because we have to leave an event early due to little
baby bedtimes.  We assure her that it's perfectly normal to have these emotions, I felt
the same way with my brother.  Those are her favorite stories: the stories about my
baby brother and I and all our adventures.  She is reassured by the notion that I
went through the same thing, had the same feelings.  She is comforted in knowing that
you can still love someone even though you are momentarily annoyed by them.  
 Being a mother of two has taught me to relax, take a deep breathe, and enjoy the
moment.  Our lives are not perfect nor do they need to be.  As long as we are together and
we make the most of each day, we are living a blessed life.  Being older and having
gone through this before has made my second experience as a mother go by much
more smoothly.  I am well aware of how quickly this phase flies by and therefore I
savor every moment.  With Isabelle, I was always so excited for what was going to
happen next, ready for what each new phase would bring.  With Brees, I am excited for
the here and now.  Everything will come in its time, bringing with it new challenges and
moments.  For now, I am so content with these two little girls, so blessed to be
their mama.  
Being the mother of two is not easy: most days I feel stretched in a million directions,
I am more forgetful, completely disorganized, always late.  But who honestly cares?  I am
a better person now, my life is more full and rich in love.  These two little girls have
taught me how to live a better life.  I really couldn't ask for anything more.

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b. lee said...

so adorable * what a top notch big sis!! happy almost 1 year to ur littlest ;)

Raechel @ Our Island Outlook said...

Oh how I loved reading this - thank you for sharing your experience raising two during Brees' first year. :)

Lucy The Valiant said...

I love this! All the pictures of them together are adorable, but that first one is so incredibly sweet! What a wonderful big sister!!

Indi said...

A year full of such wonderful, sweet memories! Your girls are beautiful!

Caitlin said...

What a lovely post, and how amazing that Isabelle has been such a helper from the beginning. So many great memories they'll have to share with their little girls some day :)

deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

i loved this post!

and it is amazing to me just how much more grown up isabelle looks than she did when brees was first born. :)

Jodi said...

soo cute.. looks like they are the bestest friends! :)

Hope you are having a great week my friend :)

Kara said...

This post made me all weepy. I love the sweet bond they have and Belle sounds like a wonderful older sister. You are blessed!

Little Gray Pixel said...

Aw, I always wanted a sister.

This post is amazing. You've really made me think about changing my mind-set. I've been so focused on wondering when Alexa will "get" crawling, but I should be living in the here and now.

Wendy said...

You really do have some amazing daughters! I love love love reading your posts like this because I'm always worried about adding another baby into the mix one day. I feel more confident about it when I see what a strong family you have.

MarieHarmony said...

It's wonderful! I like very much to read you because there is so much love in your home. And these two sisters are just lovely to look at. I miss happy children around me right now, and visiting bring much happiness in my day.
Enjoy your day!

Randalin. said...

oh my word. These pictures are too cute. You've officially convinced me that two kids is the best idea ever. Also, it's great to hear how it is between two kids with a bigger age gap (it seems like everyone is doing the 2 under 2 thing lately!). You're refreshing as usual!