Beginnings and Endings October 19th, 2011
Tonight I have a date. First, I have a date to take our dogs to the vet for their annual checkups and shots (for which they are a month overdue…) and IEP has agreed to go with me and be my helper. Then, on the way home we will stop by our corner pizza joint, pick up our supper, and come home and watch Game 1 of the World Series together. (GAP has plans with a buddy.)
Under other circumstances I might find these plans draining. Getting two Bernese Mountain Dogs in and out of the vet isn’t easy when you’re not 37+ weeks pregnant with a toddler in tow. So I’m fully prepared for the fact that this evening’s errand could very well be a comedy of errors (and/or frustrations). But I’m looking at it differently today.
IEP’s days as an only child are numbered. As of today that number is – at most – nine. And I am feeling a bit nostalgic about it.
I firmly believe that the very best thing in the world we can give our son is a sibling. Life as an only child is certainly no tragedy and most only children grow up to be perfectly happy and well-adjusted adults. Nevertheless, I see tremendous value in growing up alongside siblings. There are life lessons that can be learned in any number of venues, but a small handful of those, I believe, are best learned from brothers and sisters – conflict resolution, sharing, dominance and submission, justice and injustice, and so on – not to mention all of the shared experiences and camaraderie that come from growing up together. I am extremely close to my sister. GAP is likewise close to his five siblings. So we both believe that the brother that is quickly coming his way is a very good thing for IEP.
But back to my nostalgia. For the past nearly-three years I’ve been able to give all of my parental time, energy, and focus to IEP. He has been the sole epicenter of our family. And we have loved every minute of it. So there is a part of me that feels a bit sad knowing how drastically his world is about to be upended, especially given that he really has no idea of what’s coming. Naturally he knows that the baby is coming soon – and he’s excited about it – but he won’t really be able to wrap his head around what that means until he’s living it.
Which brings us back to tonight. I will get home from work shortly after 5:00. I will load up 200 pounds of dogs and 30 pounds of toddler into my car. We will awkwardly navigate our way through the trip to the vet. I will tell IEP how to be a good helper and he will feel proud of himself for doing so. When we get home we will go down to the basement, turn on the big TV, and eat our pizza. I will watch him take bites intermittently as he scans the field for Albert Pujols. I will listen to him ask me, “Mommy, no like that pitch?” every time a batter lets one go by. And I will watch him jump and run and cheer “That humongous hit!” when either team makes contact. He will stay up past his bedtime. And if I’m very lucky he will crawl up into my lap for snuggles periodically.
Before too long that lap will be filled with a Boppy and a baby whom I know I will love every bit as much as I love IEP, and I can’t wait. But for now – for tonight – I’m glad that I can still give all of what I have to him. This is a time of beginnings and endings, and I suppose I should expect to find myself feeling emotions tied to each.