In 2004, my identity and job title changed forever when my son was born. I became Mom.
My son was a great baby and a fantastic toddler. Cute and charming as the day is long. We thought he was so great that we almost didn't get around to having his younger sister. We figured that the first one was so good, why press our luck?
I quit work when my son was born, and we spent our days (at least three seasons of the year) walking/stroller-riding around Lincoln Park in Chicago. Our close friends lived four blocks away. The Starbucks and a great bar/restaurant, each less than a block. A small grocery store, three blocks. Plenty of shopping a little farther. Favorite restaurants down the street. A playground next door, and several others within easy walking distance. He was my sidekick, and we went everywhere together.
When his baby sister was born, he was not quite three years old. I think he took her arrival better than I did initially. He had one very needy day soon after I returned from four days in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter. The thought that I'd disrupted our little dynamic duo, combined with a heck of a lot of hormones, was almost more than I could take.
He got over it pretty quickly and was never anything but adorable with his baby sister. I always joked that the poor girl wasn't going to have any sense of personal space because her brother had been in her face over-loving her since the day she was born.
That chubby little toddler is a real person now. He'll be nine soon. He is still sweet and empathetic, and when not fighting with his sister is the one calming her from one of her fits or lobbying for her with me. He is thoughtful, in every sense of the word. Although an older brother, he often seems at least part only child; he needs his quiet alone time. He loves books and building things. Last week, I heard him telling the entire story of the Odyssey to sister, who opted to have him continue the story rather than have me read to her at bedtime. He is a kid you can trust. While I fear he may suffer some tough dating years as "just a friend," he is a boy parents love and girls will want to marry.
I am cherishing this time period--when he is old enough to be interesting but young enough to still want to spend time with me. He is bright and curious and already knows many things that I do not. We share a love of books, and discussing books with him is one of my favorite things to do.
I know that, in very short order, he will start to pull away from me even more than he already has. I recognize that is how it must be, and I tell myself I will be fine with it. I want him to be independent. There will be three years when we will have only our daughter at home, while he is off at college. It is hard to imagine, hard to think of him having a life separate from mine. He'd better take my calls, because a text is just not going to cut it.