You are no less special because you are second.
Instead, it’s cliché-true that you completed our family.
I look at your bright smile and feel compelled at gut level to gently nuzzle you as you laugh, or hold you serenely as you nurse.
And I do nuzzle you—but not often enough, because your sister has needed me for some other big-kid problem the entire time you were nursing. Also, you climb down off of my lap the second you’re finished to play with her.
It’s also true that your baby book doesn’t have those cute little notes reflecting each thought as I had it about your teeth appearing for the first time or your first steps.
These things are no less special to me than they were for your sister.
Actually, if possible, they are more unique, because—even though I’m an identical twin—I realized for the first time how truly different two people can be are as I watched you conquer the same milestones in completely your own way.
At first, I’ll be honest, I compared you to your big sister, wondering, “Did she do this that early?” or, “Doesn’t she have that same look on her face?” And then I stopped.
I ceased—even internally—comparing how you did things, because I had begun to fully appreciate how special you are.
Yet your baby book sits on the buffet behind the nicked antique dining table, where I type—only barely filled out. Each week I tell myself this will be the time I go back and write the moments down for you to keep and look back on.
I loved looking at my own baby book as a 10-year-old.
I loved looking at the surgery scars from my hernia repair in old Polaroids taped to somewhat crinkly pages. I loved touching the hardened plastic of my newborn hospital bracelets, and I loved seeing my mom’s beautiful “teacher” cursive as I perused it all.
Your baby bracelet is in a Ziploc bag with the one I wore after having you, in one of the boxes from our move a little while back.
My second born, I hope you know that you are loved no less than my first.
I hope one day when you look over it, you will know that the reason your book didn’t happen in “real time” as your sister’s did is simple—although I still feel awful about it. It’s because I was there as you went through your firsts.
Not that I wasn’t present with your older sister—I was. But I didn’t have two active bodies to watch and I had more hands to help me. That was before our move, when we lived near family.
At times during your growing, I dash for my phone to hungrily snatch an image to keep. I usually do this for your dad who is at work. Often though, I ignore my phone and simply experience the tender yet proud swell of my mommy-breast as you accomplish first after first.
Time goes so fast with you.
Even your birth was felt like it was over too fast—only half an hour elapsed from parking the car to holding you in my arms.
And your first tooth? I was trying to survive—I’ll be real.
I was trying to get through a day when I had slept very little the night before and I had a busy-you and a busy-older-sister too.
I will say more to you than, “You are no less special because you are second.” I will add on that you are the first to remind me more of me than your dad. (I swear your big sister is Daddy in pink glasses.)
You are also the funniest person I know, besides your big sister. I feel like a total a**hole saying this, but give me a chance.
I had you four years apart from your sister because I wanted more than a sibling for her—I wanted you.
I wanted you in your baby form. I wanted you and the no-sleep you brought with you. I wanted your firsts—I knew they would likely be my lasts. I wanted to be able to enjoy you as a sister to my oldest and also as the person who you are, but I’ll admit I’m overwhelmed with joy when I see you already laughing and playing together, with her.
You are quite a person.
You are seriously hilarious and—even funnier—your one-year-old self knows this.
You are my full heart when I go to sleep and you are the smile that I want to wake up to.
You are different than anyone I know—completely unique—and I love you not more or less than your older sister, but as you.
I love you.
And your baby book?
While it sits in the basket on the buffet, its incompleteness does not reflect my absolutely complete heart.
Instead of filling each page, I am here with you, trying my damnedest every day to appreciate you and your brand-new’s as they happen.
And I’m sorry that I had more time on my first-time mommy-hands to experience your big sister’s firsts and then document them, but I wouldn’t change anything about our experiences thus far.
Okay, I admit I might want to note in perfect print the ridiculous look you had on your face as you tried banana—for the fifth time because I could not believe you didn’t like it (at all).
I would note the way you puffed up your baby chest as you walked backwards before most kids even walk forwards.
I would, even more, like you to know that it’s all mentally jotted down and hopefully outwardly shared before it’s lost.
I’m afraid it will be lost.
But, if it is, know that it was for love and not the lack of it.
Author: Jennifer S. White
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Photo: Courtesy of the author