Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Unanticipated Delight


The sun hangs late in the sky these days, the lingering effects of solstice three weeks past. Our young Alaskan children know nothing of daylight (or darkness) as indicators of times to wake or sleep--they are arbitrary details for now, thankfully.

We ventured to the park this evening after dinner since the sun was still bright, a common activity when the rain has subsided and the hour is not too late. Our daughter circled the equipment confidently, familiar with all the routes and options. After watching her go up and down a slide several times, I told her I would take her brother down the slide too, and she shrieked with delight. She rushed up the stairs to the spiraling red slide, muttering "Both! Both!" to herself as she climbed. When I reached the top she was poised at the top of the slide, scooting as far to the left of the arch of the slide, letting me know there was room for both of them. 

"I'm going down with him," I tried to explain to her. She was so disappointed. She wasn't interested in going down the slide with her brother AND her mom--she just wanted to go with him. In her mind, I would set his 3.5 month old body next to her and they would spiral around to the bottom in perfect harmony. 

Thankfully, this is how she sees the relationship she has with her brother most of the time. This baby that monopolizes meal time and play time with his need for me to sit and feed him. This baby that cries for reasons she doesn't understand and is perfectly stationary wherever we lay him. She adores him. She lays on the floor to talk with him while he lays on his belly. She cheers when he rolls over; she shrieks with delight when he laughs. She rocks his car seat when he cries and runs to his room to keep him company until I can retrieve him when he wakes up from naps. 

As we approached the park this evening, our son began to cry. I knew it was because he was ready to be fed, but my daughter was sure it was because he had grown weary of how long it was taking us to get there. "It's okay," she spoke to him in soothing tones from her side of the double stroller, "we're ALMOST there." And she repeated this mantra for several seconds as she sought to console him in his misery.

These are the moments I didn't anticipate when the chaos of having two children unfolded. I knew there would be twice as many needs. I knew there would be much less free time. I knew the love for my son would match the affection I have for my daughter. I never stopped to think about how she would fall in love with him too. It is truly precious. 

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