Monday, October 26, 2009

Equal but not the same

Parents with more than one child will often say how their love for each kid is the same. That is one of the biggest fallacies of parenthood. Anyone who tells you differently is lying not only to you, but themselves. The love a parent has for their children is not equal at all. Children have different personalities. They are different people. Thus, I love my children differently.

First, let me preface this by saying that "differently", "not the same" and "not equal" do not mean more or less. I do not have a favorite and I do not love one son more or less than the other. But, my love for The Preschooler is completely different than my love for The Baby. I'm positive that it's this way in every home with every parent, but it's an unspoken topic for fear that it may be interpreted in the wrong way. I think it's something that needs to be brought to the surface as many mothers expecting their second baby are uneasy about this transition and often worry about the possibility of having a different love. It's nothing to be afraid of. In fact, that different love is special and shared only with each child it's intended for.

I started to notice the difference in my love for my boys when The Baby was only a few weeks old. I would often reflect on my newborn experience with The Preschooler and felt like the second go around was completely different. It was different not just because I had more experience or more confidence, but there was a different feeling of love. It continued as the weeks went on until I realized that it wasn't going to change, that this is the difference in love.

My love for The Preschooler can be described in many ways; Intense, fresh, new, fascinating, consuming, exciting, among many other wild descriptions. I liken the love of a first born child to that of a first boyfriend or girlfriend. You are almost obsessed with it. That love changes your life. I'm sure that the type of love that I share with The Preschooler is reflective of his personality and the stage of motherhood I was in at his birth. If I had to choose a holiday that best describes my love for him, it would be Independence Day with it's fireworks, summer heat, picnics and it's intensity or New Years Day with it's parties, anticipation and hope for the future.

My love for The Baby can be described differently; mature, comforting, familiar, relaxed, snug and sweet. My love for him feels like we've known each other before and we've been reunited. Or almost like he's an old soul. There is definitely a feeling of Deja vu, but on a deeper level. Again, it may be reflective of both his personality and the place I'm at in motherhood. For The Baby, the holidays that best describe my love are Thanksgiving with it's warm fireplaces, delicious foods like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and it's familiar comforting feeling or Valentine's Day with it's sweetness, adoration and celebration.

Is one holiday better than the other? No way. I don't want to think about how the joys of my life would be without fireworks or pumpkin pie. Each holiday brings with it something special that makes the year complete. Just like how both The Preschooler and The Baby add something special to our family that makes us feel full. I'm also at peace knowing that my love is in fact different. It makes each individual relationship special in it's own way. I love knowing that The Preschooler and I share a bond different than the one I have with The Baby and vise-versa. I'm happy that I love my boys differently.

Kristin Mastre

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