My Dear Sister,
I can’t believe it’s almost time! That sweet baby boy of yours is almost here. I remember so well the bag of jumbled feelings as the due date of that first baby approached: excited, nervous, impatient, tired, happy, scared, and so much more.
You’ve handled this pregnancy with grace and the requisite good sense of humor needed to power through all of the joys and “joys” of pregnancy. You laughed when you had to roll off the couch and when shoes got challenging. You embraced ditching everything but stretchy leggings in these last few weeks. You know that at this point, comfort wins. You showered your husband with love when he brought home Chinese food for the 4th time in a little over a week.
And now in a few short days comes the next step. This baby of yours that has been long-awaited, given a silly nickname, and prayed for daily will make his entrance. Your life is about to change, in so many ways. You are about to change even more.
Little sister, you will never be the same person you once were.
I don’t say that in an ominous or derogatory way, nor do I mean it in a snarky “that ship has sailed” way. Becoming a mom will change every part of you, in ways you never thought possible.
The first thing to happen is your heart will instantly grow three sizes.
It’s just like what happens to the cartoon Grinch, and it breaks that measuring box around it. You are going to be capable of a bigger, deeper, farther-reaching, bottomless pool of love than you thought humanly possible. The kind of love that is so big it’s almost scary, and if it were ever fully felt might almost certainly crush you with its weight. It’s the kind of love that you will need to keep going when your physical strength and all logical sense has long run out.
Those pretty brown eyes of yours will never be the same.
Never will you be able to see children the way you did before you had your own. Those eyes will never be able to see a story in the news or a picture of an injured or abused child without welling up with tears. You’ll never be able to see it without thinking, “What if that were my child?”
Those ears of yours are about to get a bionic upgrade.
It won’t matter if your child is on the other side of three soundproof walls– you will hear that little one cry. You’ll feel him cry too. Your ears will be able to distinguish his cry from a roomful of crying babies. And that tiny voice of his? It will be the sweetest sound your ears have ever heard. Your mom-ears will know trouble, a real injury versus a whine, and that silence is sometimes the scariest sound of all. You’ll always be listening for that boy, no matter how busy or deep in conversation you are (or want to be).
Your feet, which have always been most comfortable in hockey skates, tennis shoes, or flip-flops will walk miles barefoot at night, trying to soothe a fussy or sick baby.
They’ll carry and push that baby his first 500 miles or more. They will run when a crash is heard. They will also learn new tricks formerly reserved for hands like opening and closing doors and drawers, rocking a baby at the perfect tempo, and unfolding strollers.
Your ears aren’t the only thing to get a miraculous upgrade–your hands will too.
They’ll do mundane things like wash hundreds of bottles and pacifiers and pump parts, and change thousands of diapers. But they will have magic unlike any other hands to your little boy. He’ll instantly know mom’s hand is on his back when he’s crying in his crib in the dark. Those hands will become his favorite way everything is done; no hands will wrap his blanket, smooth his hair, wash his face, or feed with a spoon quite like yours. As he grows, those hands will instantly and magically fix owies, ripped books, broken toys, and wipe away hundreds of tears.
Someday, not long from now, the old you will already be a distant memory.
You’ll look at pictures of yourself and remember, but it’ll feel like another life. Sure, sometimes you’ll look at pictures of yourself and be envious of the flat tummy and perky boobs. However, when you see those pictures you’ll also notice something else: while you were looking killer in your bikini, the person you were had none of your strength. This strength is one that no amount of weights and cardio can create. It’s the strength of a mom to keep going when she’s exhausted. To say yes to the needs of her baby, and no her own wants. To do what’s best, even when it’s so tough and she doesn’t want to…not even a little. To do the hard things instead of taking the easy way out.
Oh, my sweet sister, you’re about to change more than you can possibly imagine, but you’ll never really wish yourself back. Embrace this new you. Say “hi” to her in the mirror and smile, even if you’re not sure you recognize the person looking back at you. Girl, we’ve all been there. This new journey is about to unlock a part of you that you’ve never seen. It can be a little scary and disconcerting at times, but it’s ok. You can do this. You can do the hard things. You are stronger and more capable than you ever knew.
I’m so proud of you little sister. Welcome to the club.
-Your Big Sister and Lifelong Fan
This post was originally published in April 2017