If there is one singular reason why it took me so long to get around to having a second child, it would have to be that I worried about being able to meet the needs of both children.
I was worried what would happen when one child’s needs supersede another…
The Bear and I were on our own a long time before the Other Half came along, and however much she loves him, learning to share me with another took her some time. So despite her constant nagging for a sibling, I was wary of what the impact of having one would have on her.
And in the spirit of total honesty, I was also worried what impact her needs would have on a sibling.
Quite simply I wondered how I would ever split myself in two.
Of course ultimately as many of you know, we took the plunge and did it anyway. And I’m glad we did.
You see I was wrong.
The Lion’s first year has not been easy. In fact if I am honest that is an understatement. But never once has the Bear resented him. Us yes, without a doubt, I was in big trouble for the fact that he was in hospital on the day that happened to be both Pancake Day and Parent’s Day. But him, never. She has loved him unconditionally throughout.
She has accepted that quite simply, as much as we wish it wasn’t the case, right now his needs supersede hers.
We need to spend hours trying to get him to eat. We need to drive for miles to take him to see specialists. And somehow despite the worry and lack of sleep we need to survive.
She could have been angry, accused us of putting him first, distanced herself from him. In the old days she probably would have done all three.
But she hasn’t.
Instead she has entertained him on car journeys (yes even at the expense of Minecraft), encouraged him to eat, and accepted that sometimes she has to wait.
One day it won’t be this way. There will I am sure be times he is the one taking the backseat to her needs. Times she will supersede him.
But maybe despite my initial worries about this happening, I have learnt something important. This is what family is about. It’s ok to need to come first at times, but it’s equally ok to learn to come second.
After all, sharing is important for more than just toys.