Monday, May 30, 2016

Spitting Image





One thing I haven't talked about much here is that Andrew looks exactly like Jack. Not necessarily in photos, but in person he is the spitting image. Folks who knew Jack as a tiny baby take a step back and say, "Oh, WOW" when they see Andrew for the first time.

I don't doubt that as he sheds his newborn-ness and asserts his own personality, he will start to look more like his unique self, but oh boy, I wasn't expecting a little clone baby. My siblings and I may have resembled each other, but never this much.

Also, like Jack, Andrew will only sleep during the day if he's resting on my stomach and I'm bouncing my pelvis up and down. Call it mama twerking if you will. But of course when I did it with Jack, none of us knew what twerking was and Miley Cyrus was still a Huggies-wearing preschooler named Destiny Hope. Good times.

So, what is it like having a baby who looks just like my son who died?

It's pretty awesome and not all that weird. I tried to figure out why I don't find it more painful or troubling, and I think, in a way, it's because it has helped throw me right back into what motherhood was like so long ago, even though I am rusty. It just feels right. Of course he looks like a Donaldson, because he IS one! He looks a lot like Margaret, too, and Tim, and me. And even though I'm 46 and this whole thing has been quite the surprise, I'm still MOM-- hear me roar. Or hear me scrape the bottom of yet another ice cream bowl, but whatever.

Andrew's sweet little looks don't make me miss Jack more. What I mean is, having baby Andrew makes me miss the sweet and innocent times of Jack and Margaret's babyhoods (something I never thought I would say) just as you might miss your own children's babyhoods-- marveling at how little they once were, remembering the sweet baby smells, footy pajamas, and the very first smiles. It isn't about grief as much as change and the passing of time.

With Jack, I miss the 17 year old boy who would be up to who knows what this summer, driving around town, dating, and hopefully holding down a part time job before Senior year. I try to picture him as the big, big brother to this little one, which isn't difficult because teenaged Margaret is such an awesome example, marveling along with Mom and Dad at every teeny tiny milestone.

I'm grateful that I'm able to remember and channel the sweet, tough, sleepless days of the past, as with love and wonder and muscle memory we embrace these new ones with Baby Andrew.


P.S. How I wish for your sake the computer screen had "smell-i-vision" because there is a sweet baby on my chest right now, and his head is right in sniffing range.

26 comments:

claire plante said...

Dearest Anna,

What a beautiful post. It makes so much sense! So much love flows from your words.

And Andrew is so darn photogenic - I find it amazing how many facial expressions he has at such an early age.

Lots of love,
Claire

sarahphinney said...

He is just so beautiful.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I can't wait to see that sweet baby again!

Stimey said...

He is so beautiful. It makes total sense what you say here. I love seeing these photos and hearing you talk about your whole family.

EatPlayLove said...

oh my goodness Anna, I just got caught up in reader and my heart just burst and melted all in one sitting. I am full of profound joy for you (and your family). Baby Andrew is just as precious and beautiful as I imagined he would be. Sending so much love and congrats. By the way, you look amazing. :)

Sharon in Indy said...

Could someone please invent smell-i-vision ASAP? But only for the top half of babies, and maybe the toes. ;-)

Ashley Brown said...

I have been reading your blog for a year or two now, but hardly ever comment. However, I had to take the time to tell you how happy I am for you and your sweet new addition. He is adorable. I am in the middle of raising a preschooler and a toddler. One thing I have really learned from reading your blog is how important it is to treasure these days and moments even though they are filled with way too much lack of sleep.

connie said...

He is just GORGEOUS!! Thank you Anna for sharing your journey. Reading a wonderful book at the moment - TELLING THE TRUTH, The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale by Frederick Buechner. A quote..."Sin and grace, absence and presence, tragedy and comedy, they divide the world between them and where they meet head on, the Gospel happens."

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

I was wondering about this and I'm so happy to read that you are cool with his similarities. As he matures his own personality will override the sameness I bet.

Jennie Goutet said...

My heart feels very full reading this. I love you, your family (on earth and in heaven), and sweet baby smells!

Anonymous said...

Very happy for you. He is adorable. I am glad the similarities bring happiness. All the best, NoVa mom Jen
p.s. I never grow tired of looking at baby photos. Keep them coming:)!

julie gardner said...

I love the way you see this world (its love and hope and promise) and share it with us all.

Reenie said...

He's adorable.

Jennifer Sherwin said...

Beautifully said...and oh so sweet. He is a lucky boy.

Jeanie said...

Oh, my goodness! So glad you're doing well.

Chronic Ennui said...

I'm so over-the-moon happy for you and your family. He is absolutely beautiful. What a gift.

julissa vasguez said...

I literally just finished reading your memoir. Rare Bird.. Thank you for sharing your loss pain and faith.. I cried seeing Jacks picture in the end for I felt I too knew this great boy who left this world way too early.
I am so happy for you and your family. He is adorable.

Lorin Decker Buck said...

Hi Anna! Thank you for this post. I'd been wondering about similarities between Jack and Andrew because my first and third children, both boys, looked a good deal alike (not when they were as little as Andrew, though) and grew up to have similar -- but not identical -- interests, temperaments and outlooks. My boys had a very close relationship because they were so compatible. Now that the younger one is gone, I'll very occasionally catch glimpses of him in the older one.

I agree with an earlier poster who wrote that Andrew's expressions seem very mature for such a little guy. It's almost as if he knows you all already and is very familiar with his environment.

I wish I were young enough to experience the kind of joy, healing and new beginnings you're cherishing. I guess I'll have to wait for grandchildren. :)

Julie said...

What a gift you've been given!

And whenever I'm holding a baby, I can't help but take a big whiff of that baby goodness!

www.robinbotie.com said...

Andrew is so beautiful. I am so happy for you. This brings back memories of my young old motherhood. Oh, those sweet babies. I guess I do miss them. Cheers to you all.

Anonymous said...

He's so smiley! You're a good-looking family alright, and I think it's wonderful that he loos so much like his handsome big brother. I wonder if Andrew's hair will do the same funny swoopy thing. : )

love,
jbhat

Anonymous said...

He's precious! How wonderful you're finding happiness in his similarities with Jack. And, yes, I wish I could share in that sweet baby smell.

Susan Herin said...

Anna, thanks for sharing this. I was so worried for you when I saw how much Andrew looked like Jack. Andrew is beyond adorable and so blessed to be a party of your beautiful family.

SLA said...

OH!!!! He is just the sweetest. That face!!!!! You and Tim make beautiful babies, mama!!! Congrats!!!!! So glad to hear that all 3 of you are having a blast with your newest miracle. :)

MamaIan said...

So beautiful!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

As always you have written a beautiful post and I'm thankful that having Andrew has given you those pleasure that only babies can bring, only when we are knee deep in it we don't always appreciate it like you are now. I'm also thankful for the fact that although he looks like Jake it doesn't make you sad. That is a special blessing from God.