I look at Otis's picture as I lie here in bed, and I realize that Owen finally looks older than Otis. For so long, because Otis was such a big, handsome baby with a full head of hair, he really looked the part of Owen's big brother, in every way. I could look at the two of them, Owen lying there next to a photograph of Otis, and Otis still somehow would look older. Even though he only lived to be 36 hours old. Even with Owen pushing 10 months, Otis still somehow looked older.
But now, I look at Otis's picture, and he looks like a little baby. A tiny, fragile, baby. A newborn. He never looked like a newborn to me, even the nurses remarked on it. I even thought it was a bit of a gift, I got to really see what he looked like, he wasn't a generic newborn wrinkly squishy baby. He was Otis. A head full of hair. A big 11 pound baby with chubby legs and long fingers. But now, I look at his pictures, and my god, (this sounds so obvious), he was so small. A baby.
And Owen is no longer a little baby. He is a strong, sturdy, BIG and healthy baby boy....just the other day I was buying puffs at the grocery store and saw that the container said "Organic Puffs for Toddlers" and I was like, "But where are the BABY puffs?" and then it hit me that the "toddler" puffs were the right ones. That Owen is transitioning into "toddler."
It blows my mind. He plays with toys marked "12M+" He wears 18-24 month clothes. When he was born, I looked at tags that said things like "12 months" or "1 year and up" and it seemed so very very very far off, and, in reality, I wasn't even sure we'd ever get there. And now here we are. And now, he sleeps in a room down the hall, in a crib, and when we returned from our trip to Wisconsin we decided we didn't want to reconnect the video/sound monitor, so now he sleeps without us even watching him. I never thought I'd get to the place of security and comfort I have in his sticking around with us, and yet, here I am.
And at the same time, I panic about a lot of things. Our friend broke his leg the other day in a freak accident. He had to call out to his wife, and she had to find him in a remote corner of their property, and stay with him while she waited for the ambulance to arrive. I asked her if she is able to maintain calm in those situations, or if she catastrophizes it. "Oh no, I pretty much can be totally in that mode of, 'this is just a break, we'll get to the hospital, it'll be ok," she told me. "I just didn't want the kids to come out and see us...."
Meanwhile, my dog hurt his back the other night and was whimpering and having trouble jumping up and wasn't begging for food (the number one sign that something is VERY WRONG with him.) I made E take him to the emergency vet at 11pm. I was certain it was cancer. Or that he had eaten rat poison. That he wasn't going to come back home.
It's like there is no "in between." I cannot imagine having to take Owen to the emergency room and not having it be some horrible life threatening catastrophe. (I am pretty certain though, that at some point, we will have to go to an ER, and, please please please, let him come home alive.) We have been blessed that he has not been sick since birth, with the exception of those 3 months of excruciating colic (but that's not "sick" per se) and one day of a fever (that went away as quickly as it showed up.)
E and I were talking tonight about a third baby (no I'm not pregnant). About how scared he is, even in considering another pregnancy, another child. That we got SO lucky with Owen. He is strong, happy, and (finally, knock wood, please please please don't jinx it) sleeping peacefully (almost) through the night. He's really a pretty easy baby these days. But the worry. Is there space in my heart, in my head, to accommodate the worry for another child?
I feel entirely confident in the ability of the heart to stretch to accommodate the ginormous amount of love that a child generates - time and time again. I now know that my heart can stretch to infinity and beyond to hold the love I have for my Os. And I know my heart could stretch to love another. I would love for it to do so. But I don't know if my head could handle any more fear. It's not like we are making any decisions or even serious discussions about any of this. To be fair, we are leaving it up to fate, for the most part. My body doesn't seem to have any interest in ovulating right now, so it's all pretty much a moot point anyhow.
. . .
I stare at Otis's photo. I lie here in bed. His brother fast asleep down the hallway from here. My two boys, my heart longing, stretching, bursting for them both.