When the Deacon and Deaconess had their first baby, it was a huge change for all of us: a new generation, our parents’ first grandchild, my first niece. Of course no one’s lives changed more than the lives of the Deacon and Deaconess. Then along came pregnancy number two. The second time around had a whole different energy to it. After the first born, parents generally have the equipment they need, some new skills, and a certain comfort level with parenting.

Unfortunately, this sometimes means that the second kid can be a bit overlooked. Yet every child forever changes the landscape of a family, and for all our thinking that we know what to expect, children are all about uniqueness and surprises.

Unlike her sister, Elisa, who came on Thanksgiving while our family waited anxiously around the table for news, or her cousin, Nora June, whose arrival time was known well in advance, Adeline came into the world quietly, on her own time, in the middle of the night. We all woke up to the surprising news. This time around, we did not even know what names were being considered, and being so occupied in various roles with Elisa and Nora, perhaps we had less time to form expectations of who and what Adeline was going to be. Perhaps in this respect, being a second child affords a little more space and freedom.

My promises to you, Adeline: I promise to do what I can to give you the space you need to be the individual that you are. I promise to help teach your big sister how to be a big sister (since I have some experience in that) and to help teach you about being a little sister (since I have some experience in that too). I promise to be a faithful witness to your growing up and your process of becoming yourself. I promise to do my best to learn the lessons you will have to offer as you move through that process. I promise to help your Dad keep his sense of humor when he’s exhausted from chasing after two wonderful, energetic girls.