Sometimes, when you fall madly, deeply in love, there is a voice inside of you whispering, “You will never find another one like him.” The voice is right. You can never replace the first true love, whether it is a child or a mate. But I have learned something wonderful throughout the years.
You can love again.
And it’s as fantastic the second time around.
It’s just different.
My darling little boy turned 4 yesterday. Now, of course I feel like a bad mommy because I did not create an entire blog about my memory of his birth like my first son. Ah, the second really gets screwed. But the second gets other perks, as I have found out.
My second pregnancy was so horrific, it made my first one look like a vacation on a tropical island. I had some heartburn and lack of sleep with the first. The second brought on an acidic reaction that set my bed on fire every night. It brought an umbilical hernia that caused so much pain, I spent days walking bent over and couldn’t wear anything against my belly – the lightest fabric was pure torture. It brought numbness to my leg so I had to drag it around. I pretty much looked like something out of a horror movie. When I got to the doctor, she had to jump back because I made a grab for her throat. Then growled the following words: “I want him out. NOW!”
She nodded and made arrangements to induce a week early so I didn’t take him out myself.
Joshua was born with the same team but I remember the room was quieter when he arrived. I was able to hold him for a few precious minutes before the doctor had to “put me back together” as she quoted. His birth was as hard as the pregnancy.
A few hours later, the doctors swept him up to the NIC unit because of jaundice. I thought it would be a few hours under the lights but it turned serious, and they performed a blood transfusion and kept him for a week under surveillance. The biggest blizzard of NY hit after he was born and shut down the roads in a state of emergency. Ice rained so hard no one could get to the hospital. The usual buzz of family and friends and song did not exist like the first time. I appreciated Joshua on a deeper level because of the health scare – and it made me see things in a different light.
I truly believe not having me around him those first few days forged him to create a bond of dependence on me, unlike my first child. Me too. We are still making up for that lost week in the form of kisses, hugs, cuddles, and too much time spent around each other in a frenzy of love. As much as it drives me crazy, I am also to blame because I allow him to get away with more than my first son. The dynamics are different. The relationship is different.
But the love is just as intense the second time around.
Same thing with my books. I bond with two characters, memorize every line, delve into another world with them for months on end. Then the book is over, hopefully I sell it, and I am supposed to let them go and attach myself to new characters. The hardest part for me as a writer is transcending from one book to another. I have a habit of falling in love too quickly with an idea, revving myself up, and hitting a wall after the first few chapters because I have no idea what they do next. I have not attached myself to them enough. It’s a brand new love that can sometimes sizzle, burn, then flame out. I grieve for the one before – the one I knew and could control like a familiar lover, completely forgetting I’d gone through the same process over and over and over.
My new characters will never be the same. Neither will the story. But every time I look back, I realize I received a different lesson from each individual story.
Our lesson? Appreciate each distinction and just be in the present. With each story. Each child. And every single person we love.
This one’s for you, Joshie. Happy Birthday.