My amazing sister Saydi had her forth baby last week. I loved hearing all about the birth story (you can read about it HERE if you want - she's into natural childbirth like me and she describes it so beautifully - it's just something that works really well for both of us - thanks for those fast-labor genes, mom). And I loved seeing the beautiful photos she took of her sweet older kids meeting their new baby brothers HERE (Saydi's an amazing photographer).
Saydi's words and photos filled me with nostalgia. What an amazing thing it is to grow a baby! What a crazy beautiful painful thing it is to go through labor and childbirth! What a thrilling thing it is to see and hold your own baby for the first time!
And what a gorgeous thing it is to see your older children meet a new sibling for the first time. Some of my very fondest memories involve my older kids meeting their new baby sibling at the hospital. A lot of the labor and delivery becomes a blur in my mind - the pain and the suspense and the uncertainty can make things almost too intense to remember fully. But a few hours later when the older kids would come to the hospital to meet their new sibling, I was ready to really enjoy the moment - and capture bits of it on film.
I'll never forget how Ashton, my 18 month old who'd shown not a bit of interest in any of the babies we'd tried to show him to prepare him for his new brother, reached out his chubby little arms for Isaac and held him tight, instinctively rocking him back and forth with his cheek pressed to his newborn brother's downy head.
I'll never forget how Isaac was so bothered that the clunky cast on his arm prevented him from holding his baby sister Eliza the way he desperately wanted to or how Ashton smiled at her with the kindest, sweetest smile I've ever seen and held her like a pro (I'm not sure where my best photos are on this sibling meeting - but here's the one photo I had handy.)
I'll never forget Ashton and Isaac's wonder and joy upon meeting Oliver and Silas - or Eliza's uncertainty quickly giving way to interest and then delight. They loved that their tiny brothers were doll-sized and were fascinated by their sameness.
I love those moments of connection - or what seems to surely be re-connection. I love seeing the beginning of a relationship that will surely have its ups and downs but that is rooted in love, pure love. I love giving my children one of the most precious gifts they'll ever get - a sibling.
Ashton and Isaac get to look at the photo of their first meeting quite a bit. I've found that when a couple of these dear children of mine get into a tiff, it helps to sit them down to look at a photo of them together long ago and remind them that they always have been and always will be best friends. The bad feelings just can't hang around very well when you're looking at a photo so full of love and connection.