My dad asked me yesterday, "So, what are the similarities and differences in your two boys?"
Honestly, I hadn't REALLY thought about it. I had made little notes in my head when Collen would make a face or do something that reminded me of Ayden, but I hadn't really sat down and contemplated what my two sons share and what is unique about each one.
It is extremely important to us to share as much of Ayden as possible with his sibling(s) (yeah...the plural of that word will not happen for some time now, unless it's completely unplanned!) A year has passed, and I'm saddened that at times, I will remember something Ayden did or a memory we shared together and realize that I had forgotten it ever happened. I know that's normal though; as life moves forward and new memories are made, the older memories are still there, and it's even sweeter when they pop into your mind out of nowhere.
So, I have been gathering, in my mind, what I see as similiarities and differences in our two boys up to this point.
The older Collen gets, the more and more he resembles Ayden. Sometimes, I feel like I'm looking at the same baby. They don't look exactly alike, but they are very, very close. In their appearance, they share the same mouth, and their eyes look very alike. The shape of their faces is the same. However, their noses and cheekbones are different. We will never know whose nose Ayden ended up with, but it resembled mine when I was a baby. Collen may end up with his dad's nose, which would be great because Jeremy has a nicely-shaped nose. (haha)
Personality and Temperament:
This is where our two boys have some differences. Ayden was much more content than Collen. Now, Collen is a pretty content baby. However, he has his testy moments. Luckily, I know what he needs in those moments, so he can be easily appeased. Overall, though, Ayden was our more content baby. We could take him anywhere, any time, (except on a train through a tunnel; he didn't like that), under pretty much any circumstance, and he would just be happy and content. Collen - we have to feel him out a little bit before taking him somewhere. Usually, he'll be fine, but we have to be a little more considerate of his mood.
What they share: They are smiley boys. :) And that makes my heart so happy. Collen and Ayden share the same smile. I loved everything about Ayden, but my favorite trait of his was his beautiful smile. To see that smile on his brother's face is witnessing Grace at work. After Ayden passed away, I would plead and talk with God, and would often mention missing Ayden's smile....just wanting to see that smile again. He gave me Ayden's smile back, and I'm so glad I can share that with Collen as he gets older. I think he'll think it's pretty cool that they have the same smile. Collen, just like Ayden, will smile and smile at just about anybody (and anything)! Like his brother, Collen wakes up so happy in the mornings, and will smile and smile and talk up a storm! I love that they share this similarity.
Collen is a tad behind Ayden in development. Ayden was always way ahead of the curve. Collen will be 10 weeks old on Sunday, and he has just started owning his voice and getting the hang of cooing and jabbering. Ayden was doing this at 7-8 weeks old. Ayden smiled at us, intentionally, at around 5 weeks. Collen reached this milestone around 6 weeks. And by 10 weeks old, Ayden was holding his head up very, very well. Collen is getting better, but he's still pretty wobbly. They are both big boys, though. Ayden always measured in the 75th-90th percentile, with his head measuring smaller. Collen is smaller in height, but definitely shares the chunky factor with his brother. Collen weighs more than Ayden did at almost 10 weeks old, but only by about a pound or so. If I'm honest with myself, I'm kind of relieved that Collen is behind Ayden developmentally. Ayden rolled over very early (3 1/2 months), and it made me so nervous. I know it isn't out of the ordinary for babies to roll over this early, but he was rolling over from back to stomach and the stomach to back...like a pro! That seems pretty early to me to be doing that. Although he could hold his head up perfectly while on his stomach, it still concerned me. So, if Collen waits a little longer to reach this milestone, I'll be perfectly content.
Collen is his own little person. We love that about him. He's Collen. He has a personality true to himself. He is unique, and we discover new little quirks in him every day. He does share similarities with his brother, and we are so thankful for that. But, we enjoy seeing the differences, too.
Have I mentioned lately how in love I am with this little boy? He holds my heart in those tiny palms of his, just as his brother did/does. I look at them both and am overcome with emotion because I can't believe they're mine. They are a part of me and of Jeremy. It still amazes me! God's creation and the miracle of a child are so awesome. I feel humbled that God would entrust me with carrying these two little lives and allowing me to feel them growing, kicking, hiccuping, and then to be blessed with delivering them into this world. I look at Collen every day and thank God for trusting us with his life, and that's usually followed by, "Please....let us keep him."
Once Collen reaches the 4 month mark, his personality and little quirks will be unique to him alone. I will always wonder what Ayden would have been like at 6 months, 9 months, a year, 2 years. I have my ideas, but I'll never fully know. Collen will allow us (we pray!!) to experience everything we have missed with Ayden. I'm so glad they share similarities because although we never knew Ayden as a toddler, we will get a glimpse at him through Collen.
I look forward to sharing these similarities with Collen once he's old enough to understand. Our hope and prayer is that Ayden's siblings will be so proud of their big brother and want to tell everyone about him. Although our/their situation is not the norm, we hope it will mold our children in a way that helps them to strongly grasp and clearly understand Heaven. We also hope for them to understand that death is not be feared if we are living in Christ. Although this was not the plan WE had for Ayden's life and the impact he would make, and if given the choice we'd change it in a second, perhaps God had in mind for Ayden's life to help cement His love and His sacrifice in the lives of our children, those who knew Ayden, and those who hear his story.