Earlier today, in the wee hours of the morning, I got a text from my brother letting me know that he was a dad. I cannot put into words the rush of emotions that swept through me. My little brother is a dad. My little brother is a dad and as a result I now have a new nephew. This isn’t the first time I became an aunt. I also have a nephew on my husband’s side of the family, who turned nine this summer. Over the years, there were five more cousins that became part of our family, all through my step-siblings. I remember the day they were each introduced and I remember the feeling of love that spreads over you when you have a new little one who is now part of your family. There is just something different though when it’s your own brother who becomes a parent.
Having three children myself, I remember the emotions that are experienced the day you have your first baby. We’re coming up on that anniversary in another month, as we welcomed our first daughter, Caleigh into the world eight years ago on the 26th of October.
I remember the early contractions that are more exciting than painful. That moment early on in labour when I looked into Tom’s eyes and we just knew that we were no longer going to be a family of two but a family of three. This was it. No turning back. Labour progresses and it gets hard. Really hard. So intense that I could hardly breathe at times. And in the days that followed, Tom admitted the frustration and fear to just want to take that intensity and pain away from me. He would feel so helpless at times and just want to take some of it on to give me a break. Fast forward to a day later and it’s that moment we held her for the first time and we knew, in an instant, that our lives would never be the same. That immense feeling that flows through your entire body that can only be described as love but on a level that you didn’t think was possible. Such overwhelming emotion over such a tiny little being.
And now being one step removed from that experience, as an aunt. An aunt to a handsome baby boy. As I lay in bed and relished in the joy of the new addition to our family, I thought of everything that my brother and his wife were going through for the first time. The first kiss and cuddle. Counting toes. Holding little hands. Stroking his cheek. Connecting for the first time. Falling madly in love with a boy who up until an hour ago, they didn’t know what he looked like. I smile now, just thinking of it all.
My thoughts then moved forward to the coming days, weeks, months and years. The adventures of parenthood that could both be wonderful and also so painful. The excitement as he reaches his milestones. His first smile (oh my, that’s magical, yes?). His first step. His first word. His first tumble down the stairs. His first true scare. The first time he cries when he’s left at a daycare or with a babysitter, as their hearts are broken because even though they know it’s necessary, it is never easy. Each lesson learned. Each decision made, wondering if it’s the right one. The stress of reading about and listening to what “should” be done and then coming back to the realization each time that what’s best is what is right for them.
Welcome to the world, Morley James. You are so loved. You’ve existed, out of the womb, for all of 15 hours (at time of writing) and are so, so loved. You have two amazing parents who are absolutely perfect for you…but you know that already (because I strongly believe that you chose them). They love you and every fibre of your being. All three of you are in for a brilliantly wild ride together.
You have six incredible grandparents whose hearts were are just “over the moon” at the news of your arrival. For two of them, you are their first grandchild. For two of them, you are their fourth. And for the last two, you are the eighth. But you’ll soon discover that it doesn’t matter how many grandchildren they have, there will always be more than enough love to go around.
Speaking of those grandchildren…you have seven cousins who will be very excited to meet you. You were already held by one today, the oldest, Caleigh. She fell immediately in love with you and she made sure that everyone else she encountered today knew that she had a new baby cousin. By the way, you also managed to bump her UNO cards as “show & tell” this week. Trust me, Morley, that means you’re pretty cool.
And I’ll speak for your aunts and uncles when I tell you that our hearts are all full with love and anticipation of getting to know you. You have a lot of us – ten in total, with the possibility of more in the future. I have a few aunts and uncles who I love dearly and have an incredible relationship with. I have laughed with them, cried with them, shared with them, and have always ALWAYS felt completely safe with them. I hope that I earn the opportunity to create that bond with you.
You, Morley James, are loved. Loved by more people than you can imagine. Welcome to the world.