Permanent Markers

When Eliza's birth was fast approaching, I spent a lot of time thinking about how the addition of a second child would feel. My biggest concern, after all the usual late-night-Google-self-diagnosing of possible temperament challenges and birth defects that ran rampant late in my pregnancy, was that Eliza and her new-babyness would somehow usurp my memories of baby Zoe. This felt particularly possible because they're both girls. I would be putting Eliza to sleep in Zoe's pack n- play and then her crib. I would be dressing Eliza in Zoe's clothes, wrapping her in the fabric pieces of her sister's babyhood.

What I know now is that my memories of Eliza do not erase my memories of baby Zoe, even as she lies in the same crib, wearing the same clothes. If anything, watching Eliza grow and change brings Zoe's babyhood all back to me in tangible, clear-as-day visions. I see Ellie in a onesie that I chose for Zoe before there was even a proto-Zoe and I remember my joy when putting Zoe in it for the first time.
Zoe, June 2006

Eliza, July 2009

I put Eliza on her tummy in her crib in a favorite onesie and I remember one of my favorite pictures of Zoe and rush to take a matching one of Eliza.

Zoe, Sept. 2006.

Eliza, Sept. 2009 (E modestly covers her cleavage.)

My girls' unique selves, their lovely differences, are inescapable already and no amount of hand-me-down wearing can change that. Eliza gives me the gift of remembering my favorite moments of Zoe's infancy on a daily basis.

My memories of each will have permanent markings on my mind. One cannot erase the other and I'm so glad that's true.


artemisia said...

This is wonderful and thoughtful. I am so glad you share this with us!

I love that picture of Zoe looking up, smiling. Holy cow.

Astarte said...

God, they are both SO beautiful, I don't know how you stand it without smushing your face into them all day! Mmwah!

BTW, I like the word proto-Zoe, a lot!!!

Jenni said...

sometimes when I see a picture of miles (my second) I fash back to moments with oscar (my fist.) I love that.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful post! After giving birth to Little Man, I told my mom that I couldn't possibly have other children because I couldn't imagine loving another like him. She (wisely) told me that my heart would always have more room for the love of other children. I'm so glad to see you found the same thing.

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

You come up with the sweetest ways to capture the memories. I love the pictures!

Amie said...

Your girls are beautiful.

parkingathome said...

Oh man they are so adorable! Those eyes! They are so different and beautiful

Jos said...

so sweet, both of them! I would have that same fear, if I had a 2nd boy. how cool that your new memories of Eliza strengthen your old memories of Zoe.

Hillary said...

Both your girls are gorgeous, and I love the way you put things.

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