Siblings: A Special Kind of Magic


Ever since she became aware of the existence of babies, my daughter {now 5-years-old} has been ready to be a big sister.

She loved to play babies. She loved to tell me about the little ones at daycare. She loved to play family — and she was always the big sister. She watched friends her own age becoming siblings and I knew she was eager for the day she’d find out she was going to be a big sister, too. 

It took longer than either of us hoped. A year before her baby brother was born, I found out I was pregnant and couldn’t stop picturing it — our soon-to-be-four-year-old holding a baby, giving him or her sweet tiny kisses, fetching diapers and burp cloths, and sure, probably being a little jealous from time to time. 

I’m so glad we didn’t tell her about the baby, though, because it would’ve been so much harder to have to tell her it wasn’t actually happening quite yet when I miscarried. It didn’t give her the chance to fall in love with the idea of a real baby. 

The second time around, we made the decision not to tell her until we were very close to the 20-week ultrasound — partly in case anything went wrong, but also because it seemed like such a very long time to ask a preschooler to wait. 

She was a little disappointed at first when we told her it was a boy {she was hoping for a little sister} but it quickly turned into total excitement over her baby brother, and after four of the longest, shortest months later {for BOTH of us}, he was here.

big sister, little brother

I was ready for how much she was going to love him, in her intense, enthusiastic, wonderfully gentle way, even though she sometimes has to be reminded of how easy it would be for her to literally smother him with hugs and kisses. 

I had no qualms about how I was going to love both of them the same as some second-time moms do. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was how much my son was going to love her, which is clear even in the short amount of time he’s been with us.

I’d been so focused on thinking about her holding her little brother that I hadn’t considered how he would feel, being held by her. Being kissed and comforted and held and loved, all while looking up at her as someone whose main duty wasn’t to fulfill his every need. Instead, her role is both simpler, but also more complicated. 

big sister, little brother

We’d helped our daughter to become this kind, precocious, hilarious, and fiercely independent five-year-old, and now she’s putting herself to work in a new way, as a sister. She’s figuring it out a little bit at a time. Both of them are figuring it out together. And that’s the best thing in the world to watch.

In looking back at his year, my husband summed it up well in a tweet: 

Witnessing this “special kind of magic” between our oldest and our youngest has been, hands down, the best part of having a second baby. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us ahead. 

What was the most surprising thing about adding to your family?  

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Dena lives in Grand Blanc with her husband, Chris, her daughter (a smart and sassy preschooler), and her daughter's BFF, a grumpy-but-sweet old lady cat named Luna. She works full-time as a children’s librarian in Lapeer and volunteers with her local Great Start Collaborative, the Michigan Library Association, and other organizations to help make the world a better place for kids. Dena grew up in Metro Detroit and spent six years in Massachusetts before moving to Grand Blanc in 2016. She loves spending time with her family, exploring local parks and museums, reading children’s books, trying new restaurants, and checking out a trivia night every once in a while.


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