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When I found out I was pregnant again, I tried my best to brace my older son for the change of becoming a big brother. There’s only so much you can do, though. For a 3 year old, there’s not much in the way of hypothetical or abstract thought just yet, so the conversations really didn’t sink in until the day we brought the new baby home.

I will concede that our prep work with him seemed to have a pretty good impact, because he was on his best behavior and tried very hard to be a good helper. The first time I changed the baby’s diaper in front of him and the baby started squalling, I turned to find my older son standing next to me with a bottle in hand, ready to help. He was desperate to pat and hold and kiss his brother, which warmed my hormonal heart and made me sob big ugly happy tears.

Sitting in the rocking chair after finally coming home, with a beer in one hand and my son slumbering in the other, I felt a sense of peace and happiness that I’ll never forget. As fleeting as it would be, for the days to come would be the thing of nightmarish psychic torment, I tried to relish the feeling, the happy nesting of homecoming.