Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Only the Lonely

As an only child, I continue grappling with the idea of being the parent to the point that I fear my own biases will get in the way of my love for and treatment of these two boys.

My love for Brendan is so deep and beyond comprehension or description, that I can't get my mind around loving yet another human as much. Everyone I talk to and everything I read uses the same cliched verse, saying, your heart just expands to make room or the capacity to love is infinite.

And I'm sure it is. But that doesn't change the fact that Brendan will never again get the same level of attention and affection and doting on that he gets now. And our new little guy will never know the kind of one-on-one attention and devotion that Brendan has received. He'll always get the short-end of the stick...from a lack of intense one-on-one love and attention to hand-me-down clothes and toys to always having to share everything and never having anything that is just his. It just doesn't seem fair.

I know there has to be an upside. I know that when my mom died I craved having someone to share it with who was deeply and intrinsically part of me to go through it with. In a situation like that, I feel like friends and other relatives can only understand so much. So, in that case it would have been nice to have a sibling to share with. And I know that, in theory, they can be great friends with a common history that will bind them forever.

But that said, I know so many siblings who don't get along. There's jealousy and competitiveness and grudges over little things that happened when they were kids. As married adults, there are in-laws that don't get along with the siblings and vice versa resulting in bitter disputes between the siblings. And it all just seems horrible to me.

Why exactly did I want to put my son(s) through this? How is it that I can avoid these things? How can I teach them to love, respect, and value one another? Will the four-year (almost) age gap be an advantage or disadvantage in lessening sibling rivalry and fostering a close relationship? Will Brendan forgive me? Will our new baby even know the difference?

I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

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