You’re one month old today. It feels longer than one month, and it feels shorter. It feels like you’ve been part of our family all along, and it feels like we’re still getting to know you. When you were born, we said you looked completely different from your older brother. And so, so similar.
We love you with our whole hearts. It feels so beautiful to finally have you here. I say ‘finally’ because my pregnancy with you felt forever. And there was so much anticipation over what you would be (girl or boy) and who you would look like (my side or Daddy’s). And then you came and they put you on my chest and you were just Simon Benjamin. Right away, you were.
It gives me such a smile that your name is Simon. It reminds me of the dual life our family lives. It’s not a common name in the U.S. but is in the UK. From the moment you were born, two countries already viewed you differently I think.
Only one month old and already you have a passport. In just a few weeks you will fly on your first airplane. When you were born, you didn’t even officially belong to one country yet. Your only nationality is American and so far you have never set foot on its soil. Unless you count an Embassy. You are not like a lot of other babies, Simon. Your life started at your first breath in an adventure.
And yet, life feels so normal to me with you here. Just a little over four weeks, and we already have it down, don’t we? You nurse and sleep and you keep your eyes open for longer each day and those moments when your big, blue eyes search around are treasures. You do all those funny, amazing things newborns do like make unintentionally hilarious facial expressions and flail your arms wildly. You get spasms in one leg which makes me always want to call you Thumper. Because you were late, the health visitor referred to you as a “mature baby”, which still makes me giggle. But it is true you were basically exercising neck control and smiling within your first week of life. You’re pretty easygoing about the bath and sleeping (we don’t need to swaddle you – I can’t believe it) and hanging out in the double stroller. Except the one time Jonah pulled the whole thing down and you smashed head-first into the end of your carrycot.
That’s how you are most laid back: with your brother. It’s impossible for me to think about you and being your mother and what it means that you’re in this family without thinking of it in relation to Jonah. Because you came into this world with a big brother. He met you on your first day of life. When we brought you home, he leaned over your car seat mesmerized. Every single day he proclaims your name with such affection. He gets upset when you cry, he calls out “sep you” when you sneeze (and babies sneeze a lot), he wants to be my helper when we give you a bath (only once did he run off with your towel), he stares when I change your diaper, he knows which milk is yours (sorry, couldn’t resist), he gives you toys every day, he asks about you as soon as he wakes up or as soon as he gets home and already there have been a hundred moments where I have caught him leaning on you and trying to kiss you or hug you or just lay with you. He’s only 2 and doesn’t know his own strength and he also likes to test his boundaries. Which is why I know that when I hear you scream from another room, Jonah has either just sat on top of you or thrown a soft soccer ball into your face. And that is the essence of you being a younger sibling. You are already so tough.
Simon, the thing I want you to know already about your brother Jonah is how his whole face lights up with immeasurable pride when I tell him he gets to hold you. And he sits there, as still as can be, with his arms wrapped around you tentatively (because one of us is supporting you) and just looks around beaming from ear to ear. Like he can’t believe his luck. And I understand. Because his luck is hard to believe. That of all the little brothers in the world to get, he got you.
The way I found out you were a boy is when Daddy saw you first in the operating room and exclaimed, “Jonah has a brother.” In that first moment we described you in terms of your brother, because before you he is all we knew. You wear so many clothes that Jonah wore and sleep in the same Moses basket and sit on the same bouncy seat and ride in the same car seat and countless other things we’re using that are the same.
And yet, I’m not in danger anymore of comparing you. It’s funny the small things that will set a mother’s children apart. And there are more of those small, and big, things that I observe each day. Like your left ear which sticks out on top while your right ear doesn’t. Or that you have, seriously, the most awesome bellybutton of all time- it’s a swirl pattern. But maybe above all it is your hair that meant you staked your claim of individuality from second one. Hair that we were informed of by the doctor before we even knew you were a boy. You came into this world with the most incredible amount of beautiful dark brown hair. A full head of it. Hair on your forehead and the backs of your ears and the backs of your arms and your thighs and on your back. Hair that spikes up after it’s been washed. Hair that makes you look older than your age. Hair that I stare at. Each strand it feels like.
Your hair though is just the beginning. I cannot wait to discover all the new million billion zillion ways you are Simon. And only Simon. I cannot wait. But I can.
I love you.