Ally is a beautiful and strong little girl. Right now she is perfectly content to have the world revolve around her. And, apart from the night shifts, we are all happy to give her all the attention in the world. Family and friends are excited to see her, her mommy now has two little girls to photograph and I have a second sweet little face to kiss. Everybody is elated that we have this new addition . . . everybody but her big sister.
I don't want to paint the wrong picture: Ava is happy that we have a new baby, but it took her a few days to start really accepting that somebody will now be staying full-time in the room next to hers. She woke up one day and mommy and daddy weren't there. Two more days passed before they came home, and when they finally made it back, they brought someone with them! It has been an adjustment for her, but she loves her sister and walks around the house saying "baby" and "Ally," and she really seems to be adjusting great. She has started pushing Ally in her swing and wiggle her pacifier when she cries. Seeing these little acts of love and acceptance of her sister does something for me that I have never before known.
For the first time in my life as a parent, I have gotten to see what it is like for my daughter to have a sibling. Up until now, it has just been her and us. Now it is her, a sister and us. Seeing this has helped me understand a little better the perspective the Lord has as he observes my relationships with those around me. Ava is learning that our love for her hasn't changed or decreased, even though there is another little person in the picture. Our desires for her and all the things we plan to do for her are still the same. She is doing great as she comes to understand this, but I am beginning to realize how I haven't always responded correctly to the fact that my Father has other children. When Ava first saw us holding Ally, it bothered her a little bit - probably not unlike the feeling I get when I see someone else being blessed when I don't seem to be.
Thinking back over the past several years of my life, I remember times when I was resentful or jealous when someone else received a promotion or recognition that I felt should have been mine. I have inwardly criticized others when they were able to purchase a new car and mine had dents in the doors and holes in the seats. Peers of mine have bought investment properties when I was just trying to buy my first home. I could list many more examples, but I think you get the picture (besides, there's no need to air out all my dirty laundry :) ).
Our love for Ava hasn't changed because Ally has arrived on the scene, just like our love for Ally will not change if ever a third young one joins our family. It is the same for all of us as the Lord's children. Having seen some of the tendencies I have had has encouraged me to pursue love and genuinely be happy for my brothers and sisters when they are blessed. I am learning to see that the Lord isn't overlooking me during these times - these are just times when my Daddy has a special gift for my brothers and sisters, just like the times He has a special surprise for me. The example that Jesus set was to pursue our happiness and well-being even over His own. I want to do the same. I can already imagine the great joy I am going to experience when I see my children playing together and genuinely loving each other. I want to bring the Lord the same joy by genuinely loving and preferring those around me.