I expected that there would be fighting. There would be tears. There would be jealousy. And yet, there would also be love.
I was right on all counts.
Although I anticipated the adapting-to-a-little-brother-drama, there's something else that didn't occur to me when we decided to have a second child: how much I would miss my husband.
When you have one child, you get to spend a lot of time with your spouse enjoying that child, together. Walks in the stroller or trips to the park involve the entire family. Owen had an entourage of lackeys, people who would carry his things for him and literally kiss his cute little baby ass. We have lots of pictures like this:
Observe: two adults, one baby, and one oddly placed basketball. Together. Marveling in what we created.
Because Owen was a baby, we had lots of time to talk. We laughed a lot, cried some, and grew closer because we now loved another person with the same intensity that we loved each other.
Then, this little monkey entered our lives. And, boy was he ever cute and perfect and wonderful. But, as is the nature of life when you have an active, loud toddler living in the same tiny house as a small, nap-needing baby, tag-teaming became a necessity.
Paul would take Owen to the beach or the park or out to breakfast, while I would stay behind so that Joel could nap. This was the way things worked because Paul lacked the hooters.
Now that Joel is weaned, we've attempted to space things so that I'll sometimes take Owen out while Paul stays behind with Joel. The reality is, though, that Paul does not get time with Owen during the week. He misses him. It doesn't make a lot of sense for him to sit in a quiet house while Joel sleeps, instead of interacting with his awake, active, hungry-for-attention son.
So, more often than not, Paul and Owen do things together, and I pull Joel duty. It's great of Owen to get the one-on-one time with his Daddy. Paul knows all the cool stuff---how motors work, how to go fishing, and how to catch jellyfish in buckets. I encourage this, and I treasure Owen and Paul's relationship.
And yet, I miss Paul. The fact is that for this season of Joel's life, it is best for him to be on a schedule. Including him when we do things as a family is great, but our window of opportunity is small indeed. He has about three hours of awake time before things become Not Fun.
Soon, very soon, Joel will be more active and better equipped to do things. We will be able to venture out to the park, the pool, the beach, the pumpkin patch, as a family of four. I imagine that as the boys play together, Paul will take my hand, and we'll talk, slowly, easily, about whatever comes to mind. What we talk about will not be important, as much as the fact that we're together, marveling in what we created.
For this season, we're apart more often than we like. But soon, we will be together again, our relationship budding like flowers in springtime.