Monday, March 11, 2013
I had no idea the sibling love would be so immediate. So fierce. Soleil, my first baby-love, I didn't think I could love anymore than I did on September 19th. But then, on September 20th she became a sister and cracked my heart open wider. She is so sweet it hurts. So loving I want to capture it and keep this innocent, pure, pure love alive forever unchanged. She is so giving, never a jealous moment. Except maybe when Grandpa holds baby - I'M FEELING JEALOUS she declared. But that is all. No tears, no anger toward the wee one. She amazes me.
If anything she is competitive about her love. "Your Mama loves you" I sing to Lucy in the living room. "YOUR SISTER LOVES YOU EVEN MORE!" Soleil power-sings from the kitchen.
She loves her so much it is creepy. "I love you Lucy..." she whispers in her ear, "even when you are dead... I love you EVEN WHEN YOU ARE DEAD!"
She is so full of love for her little sister she vibrates. While making goat sounds. For real. She bleats like a goat, an involuntary impulse, and shakes with the joy of being near her. "I L-uh-uh-uh-uh-ve you L-uh-uh-uh-cy!" All day, everyday. My living room a petting zoo of sister love. Lucy has just learned to bleat back. The strangest sibling love language.
Soleil is always urging me into character... "You be the wolf Mommy! I'm walking through the woods and you want to sniff my baby sister." I comply, startled by the tears that fill her eyes as she throws her body between me and the baby - "GET AWAY FROM MY SISTER, WOLF!" I whisper to her that I'm just following directions and she urges me back into character, determined to fight for her sister's safety, playing along the fine edge of her imagination and her powerful feelings.
We are in a golden period where they are both full of awe for each other. Every day The Littlest lights up at the arrival of her big sister in the morning. They play, already, alone together for an hour or more. I watch from the sidelines and let them forge their own bond, knowing I'm not really invited. It is a strange feeling, but there is privilege in the witnessing. I rarely intervene, but let them discover each other's joys and vulnerabilities independently. "WHOOO HOOO!!! YEEHAW! Go LUCY GO GO GO!" Soleil sing-shrieks from the living room floor, where she is rolling Lucy wildly from side to side - Lucy's face a picture of glee, Sloleil breathless with excitement. I almost caution her, gentle, gentle, but I don't need to. "MOM SHE LOVES IT!" as she gives me the most thrilled sideways glance. And she's right. She loves it. They're fine.
Soleil's perception and compassion since Lucy's birth have astounded me. As we drove home one afternoon she broke a long quiet moment with,
"Mom? I loved my breastfeed when I was a baby. When is Lucy gonna breastfeed?" I explain, again, why she can't, why we are helping her learn to use her special bottle, how well Lucy is doing. "It is hard work to have a cleft... I think. I wish I could give Lucy some breastfeed. Do you, Mom? Mom? Are you sad?"
Two months after Lucy's surgery Soleil surprised me by telling me that she missed Lucy's cleft. When I asked her why she said, "Because it was so kooky and cute!" I agreed and told her I often miss it too. And I told her I loved her new smile and she replied, "Me too - to the top of the clouds." I ask her what she wants to do when she grows up. She wants to be a fairy and take care of Lucy. "My breast milk will be even gooder than yours, Mom! I'm gonna give her hot chocolate breast milk when we grow up!"
"I love you smaller than a germ, Mom! And I love Lucy louder than a lion's roar." These were both meant to be impressive compliments. But I will happily give Lucy's the lion's share of Soliel's affections if it means it will last forever. I know they will fight one day and navigate the complexities and tensions that all close relationships hold, but I hope that threads of today's pure love will remain. I hope their love stays fierce and protective. I hope that the bond that began so immediately will last a lifetime ... and I hope there is a special place for me along the sidelines to watch it all unfold.