Max hit his two month old mark. Cade turned seven a week later. Both of my boys had milestones and I went into compensation mode for the son I actually have with me.
A day before Cade’s birthday he, my daughter, and I made a trip to Dallas. He had a pre-surgery appointment at Children’s which added salt to my cut over missing a baby moment. While the surgery is explained to be totally routine, I’m still a mom…I’m freaked out internally but dutifully smothered my brave face on to keep my child from being scared. I’m not in a good place to deal witih any potential complications. But I’m going to enforce mind over matter here: my son will be fine! After the appointment I wanted to take the kids somewhere cool. We all have a love of cars and I thought Cade would be excited to eat at Gas Monkey. But as luck would have it, his interest was in the bikes parked outside and not much else. My daughter flipped out in joy, though. lol it figures.
So, as we wait on what turned out to be really good food, I began prodding Cade for gift ideas. At seven, he still doesn’t know his birthday and Christmas are not interchangeable on gift quantity! In his sweet little voice he prattles off expected things and I feel confident I could make him smile when he got his gifts. I wasn’t so sure I’d be able to keep from thinking of what I might have done for Max on his seventh birthday.
Everything has a parallel where I briefly think of the baby and wonder “what if?”… I’m thankful I no longer spend hours inside of a day pining, but I’m acutely aware that missing Max’s milestones will make me compensate and go further to make my home sprouts’ milestones better. My mind toyed with ridiculousness ranging from bounce houses to Halloween themed ghoul fests, but I reeled it in quickly. A Hershey’s cake and a trove of must-have gifts.
It was as he opened his toys and video games that I realized that he’s at an age that he’s so innocently easy to please. I felt a pang of guilt for thinking I needed to spend more to make him happier. He’s the one who’s happy with a Hot Wheels car and a toss up in my arms. Cade didn’t care about those “awesome” toys for more than three days. He carries the cheap new Hot Wheels in his pockets like lifelines, however lol… the talking, interactive, projectile toys are on the dresser getting little attention.
I don’t need or have to go beyond what they are happy with to make myself feel like less of a weakling. My oldest two are very aware that I miss the baby. My daughter makes an effort not to talk about cute University of Texas gear she knew I’d have put him in when we are in the store. She will glance at displays and pout a bit…not because she wants for herself, but for a distant baby brother. These instances add even more salt.
I firmly believed I was making a decision that made Cade and my daughter more secure. That I wouldn’t have to make them “go without” because mommy made a mistake. The irony!! Being down a sibling is definitely going without. How idiotic of me. They both could care less about the material things I thought they needed and wanted more than an expensive, garbling baby brother. Again, how idiotic! This wasn’t my only reason for my choice, but it was one of what I deemed most definitive.
Milestones come with time. I was raised to have a powerful sense of blood bond and family. That, coupled with two totally sentimental and intelligent kids is hard to hurdle. What has eaten me about missing “week old”, “month old”, “six weeks old”, and “two months old” is that I’m seeing that missing them are wholly on me. I’m missing time because I made a lifelong decision under circumstances that are deemed duress under every other scenario outside of adoption.
I’m at least glad Max has a very loving family. No matter what, that’s a great thing. But no matter what, I have to realize that what I’m missing is not compensatory or because of anyone else. That’s quite a pill to down.