For the past 2 years, it’s been Levi and his big sissy in the house. But Levi was the one and only baby. He was the only one getting his diaper changed. He was the only one bonding with mommy at nursing times. He was the only baby boy getting mommy’s full attention. March 2020 brought the pandemic, a year of forced homebound baby bonding dependency, and a new pregnancy encompassing the overused cliche of “these parents didn’t practice social distancing.”
Fast forward past the 8 months of morning sickness, back pain, and crazy hormones to 1-11-21, the birth of our baby boy, Gibson. His story is a long one, that you can find on the FB page, “Gibson Strong,” if you would like to experience a true miracle story. But to sum it up, Gibson was born with multiple brain abnormalities, and spent 40 days and 40 nights in the NICU. Not only did these days take Mommy away from Levi for the first time in a very long time, but they also marked the beginning of our toddler no longer being the baby of our tribe.
When Gibson was ready to come home, Levi was definitely skeptical. Big sissy, Cam, always sets an amazing example of what sibling love looks like. But her loving on baby Gibson, along with everyone else’s attention to him, made Levi very dismissive toward his new brother. He was never aggressive, rough, or ugly in any way toward him, just didn’t want any part of him.
Fast forward a few months, to 2 days ago on 6-23-21. This is where I caught Levi in the act…..and I hysterically cried. I went upstairs to vacuum to prepare for 4 pre-teenager soccer girls to be at our house later that day. I set Levi up on the recliner with “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” on repeat, and Gibson safely locked into his Mamaroo. There is an open balcony where I can still keep my eyes on the 2 boys downstairs. A few minutes into vacuuming, I sneaked a peek. I wish I could’ve gotten this on video, but it will be forever locked into my brain and mama heart. Levi was standing right in front of Gibson, just staring…..literally for at least a minute. He then did a little light poke on his leg and cracked a smile, bashfully looking away. Levi did that a few times, looking less bashful after each poke. He then lightly “petted” his arm like a little puppy, smiling bigger. My eyes were welling up at this point. He continued to pet, or “soft soft” his arm, as we call it, several times. Then it happened…..one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. Levi leaned over and gave his baby brother the most gentle and genuine kiss on his chubby little cheeks. I lost it! I’m not kidding when I say I was hysterically crying. There was no coaxing him. There wasn’t any encouragement, or shall I say guilty bribing, for him to love on his brother. He just did it on his own, at his own time. I didn’t blow my cover and let him know I saw it, but I did have to come down when Levi put a blanket on him that was slightly covering his brothers’ face. He meant well, lol.
Lesson learned for this mommy….Never underestimate the power of natural sibling love. It is there, even if it doesn’t visually look like the way my oldest expresses her love in obvious form. Also, I’ve learned that even though my toddler may only be 2, I need to respect his own timing needs. God made us all different, with unique needs, and relationships that will progress in His own timing. While finishing my vacuuming, with puffy eyes from crying, I gave all glory to God for that special, historical moment, thanking Him for every little blessing in my life!