When you take time to create your own myths, it is painful to watch them suddenly disappear, like watching a child's helium filled birthday balloon rising without a worry into the sharpness of a stucco ceiling.
I felt that earlier this week. I've told many people, OK, I've told every single person I've talked to that past year that Elliott is just a sweet natured kid. When asked to predict how I thought he would handle sharing attention with the impending arrival of a little brother or sister, I've quickly answered "He's going to be a great big brother."
Sometimes we say things we know aren't true with a faith (and sometimes just pure hope) that confident repititon will actually alter the course of undeniable doom. But that hasn't been the case here; I've truly believed that Elliott was born full of gratefulness and a heart for sharing. In fact, I was quickly coming to believe that all children are born full of innocence that in their formative years somehow disappears into a black hole, a hole unquestionably created by global warming. I looked at Elliott like a fresh flower, just water him and keep him away from all those awful kids from the other side of town, and he'd always stay in bloom.
That is until a thunderstorm rumbles through - a strong storm that briefly shakes the house before completely removing it from the foundation. The storm I was in Monday. One of our neighbors was nice enough to bring her young daughter Maddie over to meet Elliott. The myth was alive and well as he began to playfully dance, shaking out all of his moves to the music of all his new toys. I could hear his little sharing heart pounding away. Maddie, like I would have, interpreted Elliott's playfulness as a blessing to share in his toys. It was a blessing swiftly rescinded by Elliott.
When she sat in Elliott's chair, he rushed to squeeze her out. When she tried to ride on his little John Deere Buck, he again rushed to claim the toy as his. When she jumped on his little bouncing zebra, the world ended. There was no way to squeeze her off, it was too bulky to pull away, so there was only one thing left to do. Cry! Cry great big my life has been destroyed somebody please get me back my zebra tears.
So Elliott cried, mama and I sat in shock, Maddie did her best to pretend she didn't hear him and Maddie's mom, well she had the most disturbing look of all. It was a look that had seen all of this before. A look that said oh I recognize this, which destroys the myth. It would seem to say it is far more likely that our kids are born at least slightly flawed and parenting is actually a lifetime of trying to fix those flaws. And that sounds much more difficult than watering a flower.
I'm sure I've created other myths that will fall along the way. I'm also still certain we have a sweet natured boy. But as for how I think he'll deal with the impending arrival of his little brother or sister - it adds a whole new meaning to a "Severe Thunderstorm Warning".