I've been meaning to write this post for ages. Well, since its a public holiday, and I am just up from an arvo nap, but hiding out of the unseasonably warm March heat in our air-conned bedroom, this seems as good a time as any to write it.
As many of my long term readers would know, in mid 2011, three days after Thumpers due date, my sister-in-law called us up to tell us she was pregnant. It was probably one of the hardest moments of our infertility struggle, after Thumpers death of course. Partly it was shock, SIL had given the impression she was going back to Uni, her hubby was studying, and as I would learn later, nephew wasn't actually planned. But the biggest issue was I thought I'd be first. First Grandchild on both sides. So many images I had of being pregnant rested on that fact. And fears began to surface then, that my baby wouldn't be as important to Earl's family as hers because mine wasn't the first.
After a few weeks, I began to feel silly about this. Of course they would love my kids just the same. But I made the mistake of talking to my BFF about it, who was trying to get pregnant at the time. Now, as a way of explanation, my BFF has a complicated, somewhat unhealthy relationship with her parents, partly wrapped up in her feeling that her sister is more loved than her. I should have realised she wasn't the best person to talk with about it. But after I told her my fears and how silly they were, she said " No, there is something special about the first Grandchild." She gave the example of how her parents would never have dreamed of being away when her sisters first baby was born, but had informed her that they had a trip to Europe planned and wouldn't change it if she got pregnant. (On a side note, they make me so mad! Fancy saying that to your daughter, even before you knew if it would happen). Well, despite latter realising that it was easier for my insecure friend to believe that a first grand children are special than that she wasn't as important as her sister, her words stuck with me and my insecurities grew.
The final nail in the coffin was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law moving in with Earl's parents. That was it I thought. They would see him every day. He was the favourite, that was just how it would be. And my sister in law, who I thought would have been so excited about being an Aunty, would be too busy with her own to care.
Earl thought the whole thing ridiculous, and even got a bit angry "my family don't play favourites, don't make it a competition!"
Fast forward to now?
My fears are completely unfounded.
True, my father in law has a special bond with nephew. How could he not? He is not an emotional man, but he's great with kids, and I love seeing that side of him. He may not have as many opportunities to bond with my boys but he will love them in ways I couldn't even picture before.
My mother in law is so relieved and excited that we are pregnant. And she is so sensitive and caring, she goes out of her way to show me how she will love our boys the same as nephew. She even quit one part time job so she could have a day a week set aside for helping me with the boys. And while she might have one Grandson living with her, she has so many ideas and dreams about the boys all playing at her house. In fact, my sister in law said, Earl's Mum doesn't want to tread on my toes, but she is so keen to help and be involved, so as long as I'm clear I need the help, she will come over all the time.
And Sister in Law. Not excited about my babies?
I couldn't be more wrong. Besides my Dad, no one is more visibly excited. She is more excited than she would have been without a son. Because now the boys are cousins and I am a fellow Mum. She is so excited about the future fun we will have, and the relationships in the two families. She was close to her cousins, and she wants that for our boys.
So my fears were unfounded. And I'm reminded that sometimes when things don't turn out like you plan, they can sometimes be better.