The power of a smile

There are many similarities between Crue and Nash, and yet they are different in so many ways. I would be lying if I didn’t say I enjoy their similarities. I find comfort in them. One minute they can look like twins and the next they look nothing alike.  They both have pale skin, big eyes, and cheeks for miles. Crue, unlike his brother, is very serious. He usually furrows his eyebrows and looks oh so not entertained by most people.  If you are going to get a smile from him, he is going to make you work for it. Nash, on the other hand, found everything entertaining. He handed out smiles like they were going out of style and handed them out quite regularly since birth.

There were many days I stared at Crue searching for his brother, any glimpse of Nash I could get. I felt awful for it, but I couldn’t stop. Eventually, I stopped searching. It was too painful. I had to come to the realization that Crue is not Nash and I wouldn’t want him to be. The biggest difference between the two, other than temperament, is Crue’s piercing blue eyes. Nash’s were some of the darkest brown eyes you had ever seen. Sometimes when Crue does something so much like his brother that I gasp, he will look at me and those big blue eyes take my breath away. In those moments when I’m so caught off guard by their similarities, I see those blue eyes and they almost seem wrong. Like, they don’t fit.

Some people have told me they were thankful that their rainbow baby was a different gender so they didn’t compare. I get that now. As much as I love Crue, and I do, I sometimes get caught up in comparing the two of them and I find myself being let down by their differences. I can imagine this is pretty normal. You lose a child, of course you want them back. I lost a boy and had another boy right away. Of course I want them to be alike. When they are not, it’s one more reminder that Nash is gone, if that makes sense. It took me a while and a great deal of depression and disconnect from Crue before I started truly loving their differences.

Everything about how I mother them is different. When I was pregnant with Nash, I was so excited. I would talk to my belly, sing to him. I really felt like we were paling around long before he was born. When I was pregnant with Crue, I would forget I was pregnant. There was no singing. I talked to him a few times but it was mainly when I was sad. The same thing after they were born. I would play with Nash every second, talk to him, sing to him, smile at him. With Crue I did all those things, but they felt forced and unnatural. He would fuss and cry and I would get more frustrated than I probably should have. I truly felt he didn’t love me, that we didn’t have that bond. That he could see right through me to all my shortcomings. I was so depressed that I thought strongly about leaving. Todd and Crue would be fine and I could buy some small cabin in the woods and live like a hermit. As time went on, I started interacting with Crue more. I sang him every song I could think of except Nash’s favorite, “Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.” That was Nash’s song. It was hard not to sing it to him because I was so used to singing it to Nash…it felt natural to want to sing it to Crue. I would not let myself though. He needed his own song. Some things are sacred.

I found myself feeling awful about how I felt. People would say, “You probably don’t take anything Crue does for granted. You probably smile when he cries.” I felt terrible because I was feeling the opposite. Frustrated, alone, disconnected, agitated…what the hell was wrong with me? I should be savoring every moment. Instead, I’m dwelling on the past…still crying about what I don’t have and not being thankful for what I do. Crue and I have a lot of alone time together. I started talking to him like I would talk to an adult. I would tell him about my day and how I was feeling. We would discuss everything from what eye shadow I would wear to what store I should buy diapers from. As I talked, he would look at me with that serious look of his and I started loving it.

I remember one day in particular. I had him on my lap facing me, and I started crying. It was a bad day, and I explained to him why it was. He just looked at me all seriously, and I smiled at him. I said, “You look how I feel.” We were like two grumps bumming around. It became my little running joke with him. Sometimes I wonder if I created his seriousness. I was so happy when I was pregnant with Nash, and he was a happy baby. I was depressed and serious with Crue, and he is a serious baby. Either way, I was starting to love his little personality. If I sang a sad song to him, he would push his lower lip out and it would start to quiver. I kept doing it because it was beyond cute. Then I would sing a happy song and he would stop and look at me all seriously.

I’m not quite sure when it started, but Crue started giving me little playful smiles here and there. One day in particular, I started singing every song I could think of to see what would happen. He either cried or did his serious look. I must have felt strong in that moment because without thinking the words just came out of me, “Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold.” He gave me that sideways mischievous grin like Nash would, and I started to cry happy tears. I continued singing it and he cooed and giggled the whole time. Since that day nothing is off limits. If he likes the same things as his brother, so be it. Isn’t that what I had secretly wanted all along? He smiles now as much as Nash did, if not more. I can not put into words how happy it  has made us to to have that smile in our home again. I’m glad he waited to give me those smiles of his. It gave me time to embrace Crue for all that he is and all that he is not. I had fallen in love with him not for his similarities to his brother, but for his differences. In the end, he shares one major thing with his brother…his smile. I think he waited until I knew I loved him no matter what before he flashed that smile at me. Like he was holding out for the right moment. I can just hear him thinking to himself…”Okay, I’ve made her wait long enough…here is what I got from my brother.” Of all the things he could have gotten, I’m glad it was Nash’s smile. My boys’ smiles could melt the heart of anyone. I know they have melted mine. Who knew there could be such power in something as simple as a smile? 


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