As my due date gets closer and closer (April 4, by the way…), I find myself getting a little sentimental about my Bean Man. I think it’s the idea that soon it won’t just be him anymore. And even though I know in my head I’ll have more than enough love to go around, I worry about how much time I’ll have to go around. Newborns are quite the time suck (no offense, Gracie) and I remember that when Bean was born, it was even hard to balance time between Bean and Chris. And Chris was a grown man who understood what was going on. Bean won’t understand and though I’d like to think I’ll be able to balance two children perfectly, I know that it takes a while to regain your balance when you add something else to your plate. And I’m worried that during that transitional time while I learn to be a mother to two babies, Bean won’t get what he needs from me.
This morning I found myself in an empty house after Chris left for work and I had dropped Bean at daycare. Before I assumed my position on the couch, I wandered into Bean’s room to straighten up from the morning rush. And for the first time in a long time, I walked around touching his things, remembering what fun we’ve had in the past 20 months, and, oddly enough, missing Bean.
I stopped and looked at this picture of me and Bean, taken by our church photographer last Mother’s Day. We had just found our church and I remember sitting in the pew on Mother’s Day morning and hearing our minister talk about the important role a mother plays in the life of her children. He talked about how she is the voice they hear in the back of their minds as they go through life. And I remember praying that God would give me the strength to be strong for Bean so that the voice he heard was confident and steadfast.
I stopped and looked at his little bookshelves, full of his favorite toys and games and books. And I thought about last Christmas and the Christmas before that when Bean got most of those things. I remembered his first Christmas and how he was the same height as his stocking. I remembered this past Christmas when he was a year older and seemed to understand more about what was going on. Christmas was so much better because he was there.
I saw his Curious George and Papa Bear stuffed animals that belonged to Chris when he was Bean’s age. And I smiled as I pictured Bean walking through our house, dragging those two characters at his sides. Since we gave them to him together, he hasn’t separated them. Where Curious George goes, Papa Bear goes. And vice versa. He’s a loyal little creature of habit, that Bean of mine. Just like his Daddy.
I peered into his toy chest and smiled when I saw Nemo on top of the heap. And it made me think about Bean’s first birthday when we took him to Animal Kingdom at Disney World to celebrate with our family. I remember thinking at that time that Bean was such a big boy. I couldn’t imagine him getting any bigger. And I couldn’t imagine loving him any more. I was wrong on both counts.
And as I walked out of his bedroom, I stopped at his dresser for a minute and looked long and hard at our first family picture, taken the day he was born. The happiest day of my life. It was the day we became a family. At the time, I remember telling people that we had Bean because Chris and I loved each other so much it spilled over and made a baby. And, you know, I guess growing our family isn’t much different. Except this time, Gracie was born out of not just the love that Chris and I have for each other, but from the love that we have for Bean. He was a product of Chris and me and Gracie will be the product of the love that grew out of my Bean, out of my Micheal. And when I think about it like that, it doesn’t seem as overwhelming to bring another person into our family. Instead, it just feels like Gracie’s always been here. Right there inside of Bean’s sweet little heart.