Birth of a Friendship

Our Teddy goes to sleep tonight an eleven year-old and will wake up tomorrow another year older.

I catch my breath when I realize how dangerously close we are to having a teenager under this roof.

But he’ll always be that freckled-faced carrot-topped sweet boy to his mamma. When I look in his face I still see the remnants of that little thumb-sucking toddler that changed our life forever.

He redefined love for us.

He taught us the meaning of true joy.

There have been so many firsts with this amazing kid, and, God willing, we will negotiate many more. But my favorite role that our firstborn has found his way through is that of big brother.

At 14 months, Teddy was our pride and joy. So when we found out we were expecting again, much fear and anxiety mingled with our excitement. I remember feeling a little sad that my attention would soon have to be divided. I distinctly remember wondering, “How can I love another child as much as this precious one?”

As we prepared our little boy for a new sibling, our hearts were being prepared as well. Our boys’ birthdays would be almost exactly two years apart. Life would never be the same.

We read book after book, trying desperately to prepare our young son for the emotional adjustments of a new baby. We moved him into his “big boy” bed early on in my pregnancy, so that he wouldn’t feel the baby had stolen his crib. We increased his “dad time” so he wouldn’t feel slighted so much by the amount of time mom would need to devote to the baby. We showed him ultrasound pictures and read stories about what it means to be a big brother. We even included him in our discussions about names for the baby. His suggestions were always interesting (“How ‘bout…Popsicle?”)

But perhaps one of the best things that happened in preparation did not come from a book or a magazine.

As the baby grew inside of me, I began to have conversations with him (for we did know by that time that we were having another boy). I played music for him and sang him songs.

As our little Teddy observed my interactions with his unborn brother, he began to imitate.

Teddy loved talking to his little brother. He shared many things with “Little Jeffy”.

Often, he would press his little ear up to my rounded belly and listen intently for any noise that would prove that there really was a little brother in there.

I imagined Jeffrey with his ear pressed up against the confines of my womb, listening to Teddy’s voice, just as Teddy listened for him from the outside. Then, my toddler would press his tiny lips against my swollen abdomen–all chubby cheeks and upturned nose–and speak loudly, his voice echoing into my body through walls of flesh and blood, traveling this journey to fall on that tiny ear that was still learning to make sense of sounds that traveled its way.

He told his unborn brother many things, like how to play ball, and cars and trucks, what his favorite foods and cartoons were, and all about his pet dog.

But one of his favorite things to say was simply, “Little Jeffy, come out of mommy’s belly!” He gave this command so assertively, that I often feared his brother would comply, sending me into an early labor.

It wasn’t long before he would change his mind about this, however.

Jeffrey was born after thirteen hours of labor. The moment I held him in my arms, all of my fears about loving him enough immediately disappeared. My friends had told me that this would happen, that our capacity to love increases exponentially with the birth of each child. But this was difficult to understand until I looked at that little face, yet still had an ache inside of me that was the absence of my Teddy.

I needed both of my children with me to feel whole.

Finally, Teddy came to the hospital to meet his little brother. We put him on the middle of the bed and gingerly placed Little Jeffrey beside him. Teddy cringed away from his brother and, taking one look at the wrinkly, squirmy infant said what would be his first face to face words to his little brother: “Little Jeffy, go back in mommy’s belly!”

When we finally made it home and got settled in, I’ll never forget another of Teddy’s lines to his little brother: “Little Jeffy, go back to the hospital!”

We never sent Little Jeffy back to the hospital, and Teddy eventually adjusted to having a little brother. In fact, today my boys are best friends. They do everything together. From day one, his older brother’s voice captivated my youngest son. Remnants of those pre-birth chats, no doubt. As I watch their relationship grow and mature, it gives me great joy to know that the start of their friendship began before Jeffrey even entered this world. I know that they will carry this bond with them throughout their lives.

The birth of an incredible friendship. That is what we celebrate this week, my friends.

Thanks for indulging. God is good.

Comments

  1. says

    How wonderful…the bond between sibilings close in age is amazing. I am an only child so I have to live through my husband’s memories when he and his sister were younger. It’s definately a God creation!!!

  2. says

    This is beautiful! I can totally relate to what you are writing having two sons that are 16 months apart. I don’t know what I would do without my boys. They are the best of friends and for that I am SO thankful.

  3. says

    Laura,

    That was beautiful! A praise for sure. One, you should print off and place in an envelope to give to each one on their wedding day. The ties that bind….

    Lovingly,
    Yolanda

  4. says

    What a beautiful post! I can totally relate to your story. My kids are 22 months apart. I hope your son has a very happy birthday.

    God bless,
    Gina

  5. says

    Happy Birthday to Teddy!

    I felt much of what you felt when I discovered I was expecting my 2nd. Both my oldest and my 2nd are girls. I wondered how in the world my love would stretch to two…..

    But it did…and then it stretched again, then again and once again…. Five times that love stretched. It’s an amazing phenomenon isn’t it… It gives us a teeny tiny idea of how God’s love stretches for each one of us.

    Have a blessed day, friend.
    Hugs,

  6. says

    Happy Birthday to your Teddy! How sweet…takes me back to my own firstborn’s reaction to his “to-be” little brother. They are best of friends and I pray it lasts their lifetimes over! Thank you for this new perspective to thier birthdays…very sweet! Happy 12 years of Motherhood to you!

  7. says

    Such a beautiful post, Laura!

    As you have said many times, our stories are so similar. My boys are 2 years 11 months apart, and several days after we brought Daniel home from the hospital, Matthew looked at him, and then he looked at us, and said with a quivering voice, “I just don’t love my brother. Can we take him back to the hospital?” 🙁
    It was so sad. Like your son, he obviously out grew it, but it was a tough transition at first. Several weeks later…he decided that he would like us to keep him.;)

    Happy Birthday to your baby!:)

    (((BIG HUGS!)))
    Amy:)

    P.S. Is there any cake left over?;)

  8. says

    Laura,
    Communicating through writing is such a wonderful gift you possess! Your boys are blessed to have such a caring mother.

    Happy Birthday Teddy!

    Sue

  9. says

    What a beautiful post Laura!! Thank so much for allowing us to share in your story.

    My children are so far apart… none of them have found a great friendship in the other… yet. I pray that they will be great friends later. What a blessing that is.

    Happy Birthday Teddy!
    Blessings,
    Lynn

  10. says

    Laura,

    This is a wonderful post…brought me to tears. My first two sons are 3 years apart. My oldest was the first grandchild and VERY “spoiled” by his grandparents when his brother was born. While everyone was visiting the “new baby” he became VERY naughty. I took him upstairs and held him…”what’s wrong I asked”…with tears in his eyes he began to cry…”I want you to take him back to the hopistal..cuz I’m the baby”–BROKE MY HEART!!! But just like your Teddy…he adjusted and for the most part all three get along very well.

    Thanks for stirring up MY memories by sharing yours.

    hugs & blessings and…
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEDDY!
    Kim

  11. says

    Laura! How precious is this story of your boys!!! Some of what you wrote really touched home with me, so similarly I felt during my pregnancy and what I experienced with Eli while carrynig Sam… How funny, the little things Teddy said to his newborn brother! “Go back!” There’s nothing more amazing than seeing siblings bond, I don’t think!… Happy birthday to your Darling boys, and happy birthing days to you, and thank you so much for the sweet birthday wishes for my Eli. He’s had fun celebrating, that’s for sure!!! Blessigs to you, Sweet Girl!

  12. says

    What you speak of today is every mother’s dream…that my children would walk with Him together in unity…that’s a common prayer this mommy utters.

    Thanks for sharing. The pleasure was mine.

    Have a great weekend celebrating!

  13. says

    This was just the sweetest story!
    My 11 year old (12 in April) is our 3rd child. My friend just had her 2nd child 2 days ago. Before the birth I was reassuring her that there would be more than enough love to go around for her 2nd child. Until you’ve experienced that “exponential love” it’s hard to grasp. Must be how God feels about His children – more than enough love.
    Melanie@Bella~Mella

  14. says

    Laura, this was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! What a blessing it will be many years from now for these boys to have this record of their first days together. Mazel tov to Teddy on such a momentous birthday!

  15. says

    Happy Birthday Teddy!

    Laura, I know just how you feel. My son was only 10 months old when I became pregnant with our daughter. It was definitely not planned that way, but God knew what he was doing. Turned out I got a precious little girl.
    He was so sweet when she was born. He’d say “Baby Sista…Baby Sista.” He always wanted to hold her and love on her.
    I remember before she was born a lady at church made a remark to me that she felt sorry for him because he was not going to get to be a baby (for long or long enough). That hurt my feelings. You know how you just don’t forget certain remarks?
    I also had those thoughts…could I ever love another like him?
    They are 19 mo. apart and to this day are still so close. In fact her husband was gone last night and her brother came and spend the evening with her. It’s great to have a close sibling.
    Teddy & Jeffy will be the same. Always best buddies.
    Love ya Laura. Have a great weekend.
    Valerie

  16. says

    Precious story! For me the most amazing part of my two sons coming together the first time is the afternnon Aaron – the older one walked into the hospitall room for the first time. His baby brother was resting comfortably in my arms justs hours old. Aaron’s voice preceded him “Where is my baby brother.” That baby woke up, turned his head searching for the familiar voice – the one that had spoken to him so often from outside the womb! A miracle! LIVE abides in the womb – I know it does. Happy Birthweek.

  17. says

    Happy birthday to Teddy!

    And what a beautiful story of how Teddy and Jeffy became such great friends. “Go back in mommy’s tummy” HA! Very funny!

    I wish my girls were close like that but instead, they are almost eight years apart and bicker all the time. *sigh* Maybe one day…

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