You’re the happiest brother when you first saw your little sister right after I gave birth to her. I could sense you were so excited to play with her you were even singing on our way home from the hospital. You kept calling her name and telling her the things you want to play with her. I was also so happy and thrilled to think that you’ll now have someone to play with. And then, something sank in while looking at your smile, I’m sorry son, you’re no longer our only baby.
I’m sorry if I can’t play with you…
Having your little sister has completed our little family. She’s a bundle of joy just like you when you came into our lives. And just like you when you were this little, she’s so fragile, sensitive and needs all of my attention. I hope I can make you fully understand that when I say I can’t play with you, it only means I can’t put your sister down to go to you because I need to feed her. Sometimes, I can’t sing with you because she’d wake up from her sleep again. We can’t jump up and down together because I’m carrying her.
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I hope you know that it also hurts me when I make you feel sad. I saw you one time going to the bedroom with a sad face when I told you I could’t draw something for you. You took your drawing board with you, sat on the bed and drew a picture of you and me. You were lonely but you kept drawing. Maybe you wanted to save yourself away from boredom and that’s the only thing you can do alone. It breaks my heart but I need to be a mother for the both of you.
I’m sorry if I can’t feed you well…
I know you. You’re easily distracted when eating. That’s why I always need to be there to help you eat when you’re feeling lazy. Most of the time I need to feed you. I hope you didn’t get mad at me when I made you wait for the next scoop of rice because your sister woke up when we were eating. You were alone in the dining table at that time and I had to check on her in the bedroom and rock her to sleep again. I hope you won’t lose your appetite if I can’t continuously give you food during lunch because I also need to breastfeed your little sister at the same time. Please be patient when you’re asking for more water. I couldn’t run right away because I was carrying her and she wouldn’t stop crying. I’m doing my best to give you the right nutrition so I hope you’d eat the scrambled egg with vegetable tidbits I prepared for you because that’s the only thing I can cook for a short period of time.
I would have wanted to focus on feeding you but I need to feed the both of you even if it means breastfeeding her at the same time.
I’m sorry if I don’t hear you sometimes…
To be honest, I did hear you. Maybe not on your first or second call. But you kept calling me so I must have heard you. I may respond to you late but I hope you understand that it’s because I was still busy changing your little sister’s clothes. I heard you crying asking for my attention because you wanted me to look at what you drew and praise you, give you compliments because you did a good job. But I didn’t care to look because your sister was also crying out loud and I didn’t know what was wrong with her. Please know, you really did a good job. You always do. And I am so proud of you. I may not always respond to you when you call me but I am always proud of what you’ve been doing.
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I hope you know what that means. Please know that I always still try to look at you in the corner of our house, to see how busy you are, drawing your favorite fishes and superhero. I hear you, son. I hear the both of you.
I’m sorry if I can’t sleep beside you…
I hope you know I also miss the nights we sleep hugging each other. I miss the nights when I tell you silly stories of your favorite tv shows. You like that. That’s why I know how much I broke your heart when one night I couldn’t sleep beside you anymore. You cried and I saw your eyes. They’re like asking me why you need to sleep in the same bed with me but farther from me. It is because your little sister is still so small she needs enough space so we won’t interrupt her sleep. I couldn’t hug you anymore to put you to sleep because I have to be there for her when she wakes up in the middle of the night.
Your dad is there for you and he’d be happy to tell you your favorite bedtime stories. I want to sleep beside you, too but I need to stay awake most of the night for your sister.
I’m sorry if I can’t watch your favorite TV show with you…
I know you miss our bonding moments when we were the only ones left at home and your dad goes to work. We usually watch your favorite show together, talk about the silly things we see and giggle with each other. I know I may have been rude when I ask you to turn the TV volume down while you’re watching because it might wake your sister up. You’d turn it down but I know you’re feeling sad because you could no longer hear how the cats have resolved a mysterious case on the series you’re watching. I know I make you feel upset whenever you try to tell me what happened to your favorite characters in the show. I would just nod pretending I fully understood what you just said but my attention is so focused on why your sister doesn’t want to drink milk.
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Maybe I’m taking advantage of the fact that you don’t fully understand this yet. I hope that in your mind, you’d think I’m just busy and not because I don’t want to look at you. My focus and senses might be divided but it doesn’t mean I don’t see you anymore.
I’m sorry if I always can’t comfort you when you’re feeling sad…
You are so gentle and emotional. You feel sad when your daddy goes to work, when you can’t watch your favorite show, when you can’t draw something you like or when you can’t get yourself to sleep. I know you want me to be there for you to comfort you just like what I had been doing before. You’d come walking towards me when you’re frustrated to tell me what happened and you’d expect me to feel sorry you, hug you and tell you it’s okay. I also want to do that but sometimes I also want you to learn to accept things even though you’re still young. If I look like I don’t care about how you feel, that is because I want you to learn to be independent. You are a big brother now and someday, you’ll stand up not only for yourself but for you and for your sister.
I hope it’s not too early for you to know these things. Please understand that dad and I won’t leave you but we will teach you to be brave whenever you are alone so you can give hope and strength to other people around you someday.
I’m sorry if I can’t be a mother to only you…
I know your little sister also makes you happy despite of the changes that happen when she came into our lives. I can see you’re doing your best to understand these things and I also hope you can see that your dad and I are also doing our best to let you and your sister feel loved, equally. If I can’t always be there for you when you need me, your father is. He maybe out working sometimes but just like me, he would move mountains just to be with you when you need him.
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Leora Ferry says
I can fully relate to this essay. Always remember that our children will realize our love for them overpasses our shortcomings since parenthood is a life long commitment that will only improve in time. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Joana Crislyn says
Indeed. I hope I’m learning it all right. You’re welcome. And Thank you as well, Mam Ferry. 🙂