Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Only child no more

Dear Zadie,

For the last six years (you keep telling people you're six-and-a-half, but not quite yet!), you've been my only child. And you are a delight. And a pain. I can't pretend that raising you is easy -- every day brings challenges that, sometimes, I wish would ease up. Like, I asked you to clean your room,this afternoon, and before you actually got to picking up those few things on your floor, you had negotiated, argued semantics, feigned incompetence, asserted your self-determination, and made terroristic threats, and ultimately I told you you could come out when it was clean. What should have taken five minutes took an hour. It's a struggle, baby.

On the other hand, I feel so lucky to have had all this one-on-one time with you. People talk about spacing between babies a lot. Like, whether it's better for your sibling relationship to be closer, or farther, but not too far. They talk about practical matters like diapers (is it better to deal with two in diapers at once?). They talk about sibling rivalry and school. And of course I've thought of all those things. This 6 (and a half!) year difference wasn't entirely intentional -- partly, it took us a long time to decide, and partly, it took us a long time to conceive. But I am glad for the space. Because having had the last six years with you as an only child meant we got to have some really special times. We went to Harbin and walked the labyrinth together. We snuggled under blankets in the winter. We played Butterfly Bingo. We pretended (SO MUCH). We took walks holding hands. We threw rocks into the river. We made muffins. And I didn't have to divide my attention between two of you, or respond to a baby when he cried.

I will, now, you know. I am looking forward to meeting your brother, and I know I'm going to love him every bit as much as I love you. But I'll never have with him the special years I had with you, just you alone. And I feel grateful for those years, because even though you are a pain sometimes, and I lose my temper more often than I'd like, I am glad we got so much time together. You're a special kid, brilliant, creative, funny, passionate, and goofy. I can't wait to see what you're like as a big sister, and I'm thrilled that Lochlan will have you to look up to.


No comments: