Doing things differently

My ex-husband and his wife had a baby girl today. My boys all knew within minutes of her birth. They were in three different locations, but they all found out almost instantly. Within an hour they had all seen pictures of her – totally adorable.

This little girl has SIX older half-brothers to watch over her and drive away potential boyfriends. She is probably going to be spoiled rotten (and if I know him well, the apple of her father’s eye).

When my two half-siblings were born I had no idea. I did not even know they were on the way, let alone that they had been born. I found out when I arrived in the US on vacation from the UK. We came every summer to visit my dad and grandparents. One summer, my dad got married before we came. We didn’t know about that in advance either. The next summer there was a newborn baby. A few years later, another one came along.

I fell deeply in love with both of my half-siblings. I don’t recall there being any weird feelings on my part. These were my little brothers and I loved them dearly. I changed diapers, I rocked them, I hugged them tight – my time with them was so short, yet I cherished every minute of it. Unfortunately times change, and people grow up and grow apart, and families being what they are, estrangements happen. We’re no longer close with either of them. Sad.

I want my boys to be close with their sister. There is a big age discrepancy. Lenny is 16, Squiggy turns 15 tomorrow (wow), HockeyFan is 13 and the Chatterbox is 9 (and no longer the baby. Important to him that that’s noted). However, even though the boys have yet to meet her, they are already besotted with her and have promised between themselves to always look out for her.

This is harder that I thought it would be. I always wanted a daughter. Growing up I was sure I would be the mother of daughters. Hardly any girls on my father’s side of the family tree, but I had my dreams. However, I seemed destined to only have sons.  I was so sure our second child was a girl…. But Squiggy came along instead. The pinkitude was not meant to be. I thought I had made my peace with it.

This baby is not mine to love, yet my boys love her with a fierce passion already – what kind of room do I have to make for her in my life? One of the boys asked me today what she will call me. Will I be Auntie H like I am to so many of my friends’ kids…. Or will just “Hadassah” do? We have a while until she starts talking…. But the kids assumed she would have a place not just in their life, but in OUR life – and that kind of threw me.

There have been some tears tonight (from me too, privately) – even though the boys know 100% that they can be happy and talk about the baby in front of me, I am sure it feels a little strange for them to do so. I am still in the process of sorting out my own feelings – how can I help them with theirs if I am still confused?

I posted an update on my Facebook wall and the mazel tovs felt uncomfortable. Would I be feeling different if this baby would have been a boy?

Deep thoughts.

Thankfully the baby is healthy and has already brought much joy. May she continue to bring nachat to her parents and grandparents and allllll her brothers.

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7 Comments

  1. sheldan says:

    Mazel tov to the ex and the princes. I am sure that there will be some way for you to be in the new baby’s life and the strange feelings will pass.

  2. malka says:

    I gave my husband “the son.” He had 3 daughters. My family was filled with females and of course I would have liked a girl ( pretty clothes, mother/daughter stuff) However, the nicest part (aside from a healthy baby at 40) our son, did not take away from “the kid,” the designation given to my husband’s youngest daughter. My husband now had 4 children; the girls ages 30, 24, 20 and new baby, boy just born. big age difference. These 4 children have a wonderful bond and lots of love for each other. I felt blessed having this blended family. we were all together a wedding, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. My son is an uncle of four. His nephews adore him! So, it all works out. You have your sons and your husband around you to give you strength.

  3. Thanks for this poignant post, Hadassah. Mazal tov to the big brothers.

  4. My youngest sister on my mother’s side is a half-sister but we never treated her as anything other than a full sibling. The hardest thing for all of us is how little we have seen her since the three of us ran away. Because she was “only a half-sibling” to the court system, I was never able to gain custody of her and I was laughed at when I suggested fighting for visitation rights that did not include my mother. I haven’t seen her since she was 7 and she will soon be 16. I hope that when she turns 18, she will reach out to me but only time will tell. It sounds like this little girl will be the luckiest little person in the world with so many brothers to protect her from the rest of the world. As for your feelings, H, thank you for always being so overwhelming painfully honest. I can only imagine what a complicated time this is for you.

  5. Batya says:

    It’s wonderful that your boys consider you and their baby half-sibling as somehow connected. It shows that they have been raised with love.

  6. fille says:

    I hear you. It is all sooooo complicated.
    You are doing a great job at processing your feelings now, while at the same time making your boys feel comfortable and not spoiling their joy. That in itself is a great achievement. I suppose it will become easier over time: over time, your sons will see her sometimes and bond with her, you will see her less and bond a bit, and I think everything will fall into place.

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