I’ve always loved this piece called â€œLoving Twoâ€ by an unknown author. I was moved when I first read it many years ago long before I became a dad and it touches me even more today. I understand it so much more now. It’s such a profound and emotional experience to be blessed with one child and all the more so when you are Â fortunate enough to have more.
What you never expect and what shocks you is how you start to feel a little guilty about having to spend more time and love on the new addition to the family because it means taking time and attention away from the previous child. In time you realize that your capacity to love is far greater than you ever realized before. That’s when you learn that your capacity to love is indeed limitless.Â For example, when a new baby arrives, you donâ€™t love your other children any less, just differently.
I’ve always thought this same principle could apply to husbands and fathers. Â When a married couple has a child, it’s natural for the wife to start evolving into her maternal role. Where the man was once her main focal point, the new born supercedes him. It’s a monumental task for every man to accept this harsh reality. “I will never be her only true love of her life ever again!” Every man must learn to share his beloved bride with the new born child. Give up their precious time together, attention and to a degree, even the love and affection that was once in abundance. It is like the death of one life but the birth (in more ways than one) of an entirely new and better life.
Slowly, in time, the shock and awe is replaced with sheer joy and wonder. You’re both amazed by the radical changes of emotions that transpire between the both of you. Soon you learn that the heart is an amazing muscle that can love more than one and not sacrifice the depth and meaning of it all. You both begin to love each other in entirely new ways as you learn how to raise this child you’re raising and loving together. As the size of your family grows with each new addition so too does the heart. You learn that the heart has no limits when it comes to love.
Here is something you will never forgetâ€¦
I walk along holding your 2-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship. Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited. And I wonder: how could I ever love another child as I love you?
Then he is born, and I watch you. I watch the pain you feel at having to share me as youâ€™ve never shared me before.
I hear you telling me in your own way, â€œPlease love only me.â€ And I hear myself telling you in mine, â€œI canâ€™tâ€, knowing in fact, that I never can again.
You cry, I cry with you. I almost see our new baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared. A relationship we can never quite have again.
But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty. Iâ€™m afraid to let you see me enjoying him – as though I am betraying you.
But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection.
More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine. The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast.
But something else is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just we two. There are new times – only now, we are three. I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.
I watch how he adores you – as I have for so long. I see how excited you are by each of his new accomplishments. And I begin to realize that I havenâ€™t taken something from you, Iâ€™ve given something to you. I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.
I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong. And my question is finally answered, to my amazement. Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you â€“ only differently.
And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I now know youâ€™ll never have to share my love. Thereâ€™s enough of that for both of you – you each have your own supply.
I love you – both. And I thank you both for blessing my life.