This is where I want to start:
For a solid two years my world has been wrapped up in Ada's. We first discovered Florence together. She was my travel companion to Verona. We've spent hours exploring, hours on a train, hours pounding out journeys by foot, just the two of us. And even though for most of it she has been too small to express a single thought, knowing she was there was my comfort, my constant. Ada is my everything.
And that is why it's so hard for me to think of another.
Before my ultrasound a few weeks ago, thoughts about a new baby swung from overwhelming worry about what two kids means physically—an frenetic ball of toddler and a needy swaddle of baby—to grief that the time I've had with Ada is almost over, and that I'll never be able to spend this kind of time with my next child. There was joy and mystery and excitement sneaking through the cracks like sunshine, but I wanted to feel light bursts of gladness and the sort of wrapped-up enthusiasm that came with the news about expecting Ada. What I felt was more heavy, more solemn.
Don't get me wrong. It all sounds so gloomy compressed into a paragraph. This baby is going to be a bright one. (Tangentially, I am a second daughter and am sure that the time I spent with my own mother was less than she was able to devote to a single child. I have no delusions about this, nor do I think it's sad like my imagination sometimes wants to picture it. It's just one of those many Facts of Life that stand like pillars holding up what's ours.)
On the drive home from the ultrasound appointment, I was washed with peace and calm. All the thoughts about being torn from diaper change to nursing session to meal prep to clean up to art projects to building blocks—and will I ever paint again?—melted with the knowledge that I was carrying a daughter. Two girls. Nothing more perfect. A sister. It was the first time during this pregnancy I've had near-tangible reassuring feelings that this is going to be our greatest blessing yet.
Many of my happiest thoughts about what this baby means come in terms of knowing that she'll be a sister, and that she'll have a sister, Ada Louise, who I rank as one of the best humans on the planet. I know this next daughter will be the same way. To know what joy my own sisters have brought me creates an unbounded thought of gratitude when I picture my own daughters as sisters.
I feel her often now. She kicks and moves and lets me know all the time that she's forming and growing and preparing.
I am too.
I have to ready my heart and trust that a cavernous space I didn't know will be filled and make me full.