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My heart is feeling all mixed up today. On the one hand, it is filled with a new, yet strangely familiar, love for David. On the other hand, it is heavy with a kind of sadness for what I've lost. Elise is no longer the baby. Although she's gracefully accepted her brother into our family, she has also subtly turned away from me in little ways.
Yesterday was our first day without Nelson, and for the first time, I could really see the change in her. She fawns over David like a proud big sister but she's stopped fawning over me. She still sits with me and skips up to me to ask for a cup of juice; yet she went all day long without asking to be picked up. Instead she's clinging to Julia.
In the morning, after getting dressed, she insisted we wait for Julia to walk with us down the steps. And on our afternoon stroll down to our local boat marina, she preferred to hold Julia's hand over mine. She also asks for Julia whenever she realizes she's disappeared into another room. I'm so glad she has her big sister to soften the transition. But my heart's a little broken at the same time. The worst moment was last night after dinner. Elise got upset because I denied her request for a second cookie. She burst out crying, "I want my Daddy. I want my Daddy." Don't get me wrong, Elise loves her Dad, but I've always been her number one comfort.
As a mother, I can see such wisdom and emotional maturity in Elise's reaction. Instead of reacting to her brother with tantrums and irrational behavior, she's coping in a way that makes sense. She realizes on some level that I can't pick her up as often or be the one to comfort her as quickly as before. She's adapted to this huge change in her life better than I ever expected. But I want to cry because just like that my little girl is no longer the baby.
Of course, I know that Elise still needs me and loves me. In the middle of the night, she woke up crying. She was half asleep, but calling out for me. When I arrived at her bedside, she calmed down and let me tuck her back in. For a moment things felt just like they were before David arrived. In the morning, she went back to being the big girl she's become, but for just that moment I breathed in her sweetness and pretended she was still the baby in the family. I was filled with deep sadness and fierce love all at once. Then I returned downstairs to find my new baby needing my comfort and care. And I was filled with more love.