Recently, several friends have made it Facebook Official that they are expanding their families. Some are going from one child to two, others moving from “man to man” to “zone” defense. It seems a fair spate of them appearing, though, and might have something to do with the fact that many of my Facebook friends are former students and in an earlier stage in their parenting than I am. Seeing all the excitement and congratulations made me want to be in on the wave – for all of two seconds, at maximum. I’ve been there, done that; even though it was an exciting time, I wouldn’t want to live it again.
There is so much to learn when you have your first child. A new set of equipment, a whole new vocabulary. On the day we brought #1 home from the hospital, we didn’t get the car seat handle locked all the way and almost tipped her into a bush trying to maneuver baby and seat through the front door. My most vivid memory in the whirlwind time after #2 was born was explaining to the eldest that I had to go change the baby’s diaper and couldn’t play with her right then. I tried to logically point out that I was the baby’s mommy and had to take care of her, being naive enough to think that daughter #1 would identify with being taken care of and understand. Instead, I got a two year old clinging to my leg and sobbing, “But you’re MY mommy!!!” I crumpled that day, too, feeling the sadness roll off her in waves. When we knew we were having #3 it was early spring of kindergarten year for the oldest and she was just learning how to read. I passed her a note that carefully spelled out the message that she was going to be a big sister again. As she sounded it out, a light dawned in her eyes and a smile blossomed on her face. Not only was she reading and understanding the words, her wish for another sister or brother was coming true! As she showed her three year old sister the slip of paper and explained what it said, they began a heated discussion about whether it would be worthwhile to end up with a brother or not.
We’ve been on a winding, emotionally charged path, but I am happy with the direction it is taking. I can’t see the end of the trail yet, but I wouldn’t want to return to the beginning. There aren’t many signposts along the way, pointing out the best routes or perils that might be up ahead, but there are tour-guides; people who have been there before you, and can tell stories of their own trips through parenting.
I have high hopes for my friends. Imagine this said in my best tour-guide voice: “The best is yet to come.”