Today we went to the park. Your face lit up and you looked at me wide-eyed, pointing to the swings. You balled your little fists and shook them with unrestrained glee as you tottered over, your whole body quivering with anticipation.
Somehow I managed to wedge myself into one of those seats, barely perching on the edge of it, but when I tried to pick you up and cuddle you close so we could swing together, my heart sank.
You don't fit anymore.
I hope you didn't see my tears. I turned and quickly brushed them away with the back of my hand, setting you down and pointing you toward the slide instead. I couldn't meet your eyes, afraid there would be disappointment reflected back at me.
You hesitated—just for a moment—before you ran off, unfazed.
But my heart? Oh, it was aching.
It was aching because, in not too long, you'll be a big brother. Something I'm reminded of constantly with the kicks and jabs to my ribs. With the simultaneous slowing and quickening of time that comes only with waiting for a new life to enter the world. With the space on my lap that lessens each and every day.
It's that space that worries me most. Because I'm afraid you'll notice it, too. That you'll think there's none left for you.
They tell me my heart will stretch, just like my belly. They tell me it will grow.
They tell me there will be room for you both, and then some.
But I can't comprehend it yet. I can't comprehend that it won't be just you anymore. That it won't be just us.
Because you were the first. You were the one who made me a mama.
Before you, I didn't know my heart could still beat outside my chest.
Before you, I didn't know what it was to feel so invincible and so vulnerable at the same time.
Before you, I didn't know I could worry so much about something so small.
Before you, I didn't know a love like this existed.
Before you, I didn't know.
But now I do.
I know these things because I know you.
Soon I'll know your little sister, too. I'll cradle her close to my chest and breathe in her sweet newborn smell and look into her eyes for the very first time. I'll know that they told me the truth, what they said about my heart.
I'll know that it will still beat outside my chest, but now in two halves.
I'll know that I'll still feel invincible. And yet so very vulnerable.
I'll know that I'll still worry. Forever and always.
I'll know that a love like this can exist, but twofold.
And someday, not too long from now, I'll watch you both playing together, perhaps on this very same swing set.
Two sets of dangling legs reaching for the sky, two pairs of hands holding on as tight as the links in the chains, two little bellies chortling with laughter.
Two pairs of eyes exploring the world together, two toothy smiles beaming in impish glee, two minds plotting the kind of mischief and magic that only siblings can.
Two kindred spirits to walk through life side-by-side, to ride its ups and downs and weather its storms. To never be alone.
Two beautiful, perfect reminders of what a mama's heart is capable of doing.
A mama's heart that is both so sound and so fragile, stretching and growing and doubling and maybe breaking just the littlest bit, only to knit itself back together stronger than it ever was before. Because now it bears the weight of not just one love, but two.
So as I watch you scamper across the playground, climbing up the slide and waiting for me to catch you, my heart aches.
But I know now that's because it's making room for you both.