My wife is giving birth to a second kid. There is no way around it. It's coming - and it's coming in less than a month from now probably. You want to know the god's honest truth, too? I am terrified. It's terrifying on multiple levels - first, as I already discussed in the first part of this series, is the money. But, whatever, I'll figure that out eventually. The real horror lay in the deep recesses of my insecurities of being a good dad, and why having a second child almost feels like I'm betraying my son.
Sounds stupid, right? Betraying my son?! Of course, I know I'm not doing such a thing to him - it's the next step in how humanity continues to grow. But, it just feels like I am.
I love my son. Itty Bitty is the second best thing to EVER happen to me in my life (the first is meeting his gorgeous mother of course.)
And despite the fact that he was real pain in my balls as a baby - between the colick, sleepless nights, always being sick, peeing in my mouth, puking all over my Tom Brady jersey, and severely ruining my social life with my wife as well as friends, I have really come to appreciate everything he is.
True, those things sucked. Boy, did they suck. Holy shit they sucked. But, looking back on it, it makes me appreciate and love the great things about my son even more:
The stupid giggle he has when I tickle his chest.
He calls Thomas The Train, "foo foo" instead of "choo choo,"
He's decided to make the "muah" sound every time his gives me a kiss.
The kid is definitely developing a Boston accent because of me (listening to him say the word car is a thing of beauty)
How he will literally sit down with me to watch an entire football/baseball game.
And, yes, the stupid dance he does when the theme to The Gilmore Girls comes on (his love of Lorelai Gilmore is also a thing of beauty.)
All these little traits are special. They are unique. They are parts to a sum that makes up my son and I love every facet. So I look at our relationship as it being wholly unique as well. Everything we went through, we did it together and it was always a first.
Even when Mary was pregnant with Itty Bitty, everything was so cataloged, organized, and fresh. I couldn't wait for him to be born - and when he was - a love I never knew existed bubbled through my already full heart. And ultimately, I suppose the whole experience can be boiled down to this:
Rhys is my pal. My buddy. He is a fixture in my life that is insurmountable.
But now I'm having a second child and I can't imagine how I can feel the same way about it. The pregnancy has been super hard on Tall Mom, and it seems like I've gone through the motions since we found out we are having a second. Of course, we've done everything to make sure the new baby is healthy - but it just feels different for me. It doesn't feel like it did with Rhys. And I don't know why.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! Of course I'm happy. I'm fucking ecstatic actually. We are growing our OWN family. We can foster an environment we have always desired from the families we grew up with. We can make sure they have everything we never did. We choose what we want and it's amazing.
But, how the hell can I expect myself to feel the same way about the new baby as I do about Rhys? Won't it all be "old hat" the second time around? Jesus, EVERYTHING about Itty Bitty was just magnified. I examined it, analysed it, and captured it for a special place in my being. Can that eagerness be recaptured?
It's almost like going from The Godfather part II, to The Godfather part III - part II was just a masterpiece. Flawless. In fact, it's quite possibly the greatest film ever made. But, part III? Yikes. Sure, it was good - but it wasn't part II. You'd been there, done that and it just didn't have the same effect. It wasn't as special.
Moreover, how can I have the same "love" for a second child? It seems so foreign. Listen, I get it. It sounds ridiculous. I actually KNOW it's ridiculous to say it. But, I can't help but feeling that my love of my first child will be far more vibrant than my love of the second.
Will all the little giggles, hugs, kisses, farts, first steps, first sickness, and feedings matter as much to me?
Will I want to hang out with baby #2? Will I be able to endure all the horrible circumstances we dealt with for baby #1? Will all of the little things that were so unique about Rhys be as rare and exclusive in the next kid?
What's worse is that even if it as special - it fees like I'm betraying the uncanny relationship I have with Rhys. It's almost as if I'm devaluing everything we have gone through by having a second child.
God, can you imagine the balls it must take to think that everything is going to be the same or better with the next kid?
I have SO MUCH invested in Rhys. The tears, the blood, the time, the sleep deprivation, the patience, the care, the concern, it's all been completely focused on him. And to think that I can just replicate it like a cheap copy machine, or the old carbon copier for credit cards?
You can't ask DaVinci to paint the Mona Lisa all over again! Or, "hey, Carlton Fisk, why don't you hit the greatest home run in Red Sox history just one more time? We didn't get the camera angle right the first time." WHAAAT!?!
Is it possible to invest all that stuff AGAIN? Do I want to? Am I capable of it? And if I am capable of it, doesn't that mean it's a slight betrayal of my son? Doesn't it minimize all the important happenings thus far?
Here's the kicker - what if I really don't feel the same way? What if I can't? What does that say about me as a dad? I almost don't deserve to be a dad again if this is the case. The next baby is entitled to more than that.
Can I do it all over again and feel like it's just as special?
Honestly, I don't know.
And this is why I am terrified.
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Did you ever feel like this with a second kid?