All about First Borns
Note: This is intended to be for my daughter (my first born), but also to share with you dearest reader. You’ll notice how I swing in my narrative, addressing both her and then you. So let’s just pretend you, my daughter and I are knocking elbows at a cozy little wooden table, somewhere warm and lovely, as we tip our cups of tea to our lips and chat about first borns:
You were my first. You taught me how to be a mother. A parent. And that’s the thing with the eldest, isn’t it? Whilst one’s heart is equally split between your children, there’s a well-defined marker in life that the eldest will always hold: That very instant that you became a mother.
Morgan-Lee, it was through you that my heart learnt what it was truly like to explode with love. The first time I felt what it was like to have my heart stolen in a way like never before – and I mean, your dad did a pretty bad-ass job at stealing my heart first up. But my first born? That is something else. But to put into words the true effect of which it had on me? Hard to do.
Hard, but with your birthday looming, you’ve been on my mind alot. You, and the profound notion that through you I was blessed to sip from the sweet and complex cup motherhood. Not to mention, Mother’s Day is right around the corner. So I feel I must. As if these thoughts of mine seek for exhibition in words.
And why would it not? It was, after all, the very first time that I felt the kind of happiness that I was sure, could just not be humanly possible. Celestial, perhaps? The first time to feel how it was to be able to love without measure. How every fibre of your being now exists for them. But also how tightly fear can grip you. For the first time ever your eyes are widened to all the dangers of this world, and how prepared you are to do anything and everything to protect them from it. And then how crippled you feel when you know you can’t.
It’s the first time you realise how much more you have to give when you thought you were depleted. You learn how quickly the pendulum of emotions can swing from bliss and perfection to frustration and exhaustion. And also just how dark the depths of your emotions can run when you reach breaking point.
And despite it all, it’s a time where you know, you just know, life just became infinitely better.
Welcome to motherhood. Where you learn the art of the silent sneeze, your sanity is often in question, and where you experience joy beyond measure. And it’s the first born that throws out that welcoming mat and shows you what this parenting gig is all about.
I mean, having had the experience of looking after nieces and nephews – both as baby sitting, and sometimes even taking on the pyjama shuffle to give their mom a rest. I’ve done nappies, and disciplining, homework and projects, I’ve done the parent teacher meetings, even been called in to the principal’s office. I’ve done the grounding and lecturing, and catching of teens trying to sneak out to the nightclubs. Not to mention spending my Saturday mornings on the soccer field cheering and taxi’ing, and all of my Sunday mornings at the ice rink – encouraging, cheering and more tax’ing. It would have seemed like I had the breadth of experiences w.r.t children – but the glaring truth is, that that didn’t even scratch the surface. And whilst I still feel that this kind of experience gives you a certain level of preparedness to having children, there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for the gamut of changes that comes about within you, and within your life, once you become a mother.
Your learning curve from the time that baby lands earth side is the steepest one you’ll ever come across in your life. The change is both radical and natural. Natural in that once baby is here, you couldn’t imagine your life any different. But radical? That’s in every other sense!
Morgy, the day you were born, I couldn’t take my eyes off of you, just drinking you in, and I felt then already the major shift inside of me. It was as if the dam walls of the universe burst wide open and showed me first hand just how much more there is to this life and to the range of emotions that exist within my heart.
Don’t get me wrong, the coming of your sister of course continued to lift the veil on the fact that there is indeed no end to the extent to which one can love. Can feel. Can care. One’s heart only grows bigger. And that’s freaking amazing in itself. But so much of my exploration in this parental journey happened with you, my first child. With you, my first born, there is a never-ending season of newness. Of me tripping and stumbling forward. Of gained wisdom and discovery.
With the birth of our first child, we rapidly exploded from our old skins, and were thrusted into this world of something wild, all new, divine, strange and oh so beautiful. And that was just the beginning. It remains a continuous journey of discovery – both of self, of child and of this world. I don’t think the journey ever ends actually. (Just ask my mother) 🙂 But it was through my first child that I found orientation in this world of parenthood. She made me a citizen of this exquisite world.
So even though her little sister has certainly brought about new discoveries and lessons, and shown me new undiscovered land, if you will, in this world, I am now already a citizen.
You are all special, my children. Not one more than the other. Today, as I explore the constant transformations of my soul and this skin of expressions and thoughts, I am merely airing my gratitude to you, my darling Morgan-Lee, for being my gentle welcome that you were to this rite of passage of Motherhood.
I understand that it may be hard for dear reader to read this and understand that I’m not playing favourites here. But know that I’m not. I’m merely sharing my thoughts and explorations around having one’s first child. There will only be that first time you become a mother. Much like virginity – there will only be that one time, thereafter everything is changed.