I remember picking Elliott up from pre-school and taking him to meet his new little brother, Ian, the day he was born six years ago today. Elliott was a couple of months short of 2 years old and grasped the magnitude of change that was coming to his life with the addition of a little brother as much as he grasped the impact of urbanization on climate change. That would soon become traumatically clear. When we got to the hospital I held Elliott's hand and we walked into Katie's room, and Elliott got his first look at Ian - lying on his mama's lap. And believe me, the climate changed.
Elliott began to sob uncontrollably, immediately eliminating the possibility this would be the love at first sight story we'd hoped for. In Elliott's eyes, there wasn't a new playmate or bunkmate, there was a trespasser on his mama's lap, and he wanted it removed immediately. And I'm not sure he was thinking as simple as lap removal - that wouldn't permanently enough resolve his issue - but I'm thinking he favored removal from planet if there was precedent for such a relocation.
Elliott's world was disrupted that day. Poor guy, he didn't see it coming. Katie's and my world was disrupted that day. Poor fools, we thought we saw exactly what was coming.
I share this story all the time, especially with friends who are getting ready to have a second child, or a third, or a fourth, or so on. But before we had Ian a dear friend once felt responsible for making sure I knew the following:
In math, she said, 1 + 1 = 2.
In children, she shared with a devilish glee, 1 + 1 = nothing less than a dozen.
She was right. Some days I wonder if she mystically knew as much about our little Ian's untamable zest for life pre-birth as we've come to discover the past six years ourselves. I also wonder if she meant her uniquely applied form of math as less of a warning and more of an encouragement to buckle up and get ready for and unimaginably wild adventure.
Because that is what this disruption to our lives has turned out to be. An unimaginably wild adventure.
Our little family of 4 now laughs with the roar of a standing room only comedy club audience. If it's not at something Ian is doing, then it's Ian's raspy and relentless laughing at something we're doing and would have missed the humor in if he hadn't been there to unveil it. We now climb things we never would have dreamed of climbing. Run to places we never would have dreamed of running to. We've learned a thousand ways to replicate the ill-mannered sounds produced by various parts of our body without actually engaging those parts, and oversee experiments to replicate the related smells. We know every Skylander. We are even sometimes blessed by their presence at dinner, and just as often cursed by their jagged edges when we roll over in our beds at night.
Oh what a glorious disruption to our lives this kid has been.
I have to say. Year six has been the most glorious. I often think of Ian as a runaway train. Always firmly on the tracks and headed in the general direction of where he needs to go, but without little want for brakes or other operational controls. But I've watched him this year occasionally tap the brakes. No squealing spark induced slowdowns, mind you, but an occasional tap just to let us know he's listening. And growing up.
Watching our kids progress as they grow makes the fact that they are growing easier to bear.
Elliott and I often walk into the room these days to see Ian cuddling on his mama's lap. Elliott doesn't cry anymore. Most days we just look at each other and secretly shake our heads and think to each other - still a mama's boy. And inside I think we both find that to be pretty cool.