Well, you know we have come a long way the last few days when Edgar decided to introduce the one, the only Dream Horse to his new brother!
The meeting went well. And though August does not yet have permission to play with Dream Horse (which, let’s face it, given what may or may not lurk on and within what’s left of Dream Horse’s “fur,” may not be a bad thing), he does have permission to look at him!
August’s arrival on Tuesday has marked the beginning of a profound journey for all of us, and most of us are handling it with the grace and reverence and joy it deserves.
Most of us.
For Don and me, parents twice already, August’s homecoming has not changed our roles significantly. We were parents before; we are parents (although with slightly less sleep) now. It has been seamless, effortless.
Oscar has been a big brother as long as he can remember. Edgar, who came home to us at ten weeks and is only a year younger than Oscar, was introduced to a big brother who, at 14 months, wasn’t really very big. Oscar has handled August’s arrival by alternately seeking out new responsibilities and staring in amazement at his beautiful baby brother.
But Edgar . . . well, he has been the baby for the last four years–a position he has made no qualms about relishing. And all the adjustments one might expect from a four-year-old–and the only one of us–whose role has changed are manifesting themselves. He is in love with his baby brother but not entirely thrilled with me. And though I have said and done all the “right things” one might expect and reputable experts recommend, nothing quite prepares a person for such a change–especially a four-year-old person.
So, Edgar, I will tell you here (because I know you won’t read this for many years hence) that even though I told you tonight that some of your behavior today was “not okay,” it really was–and more than that perfectly understandable. Your family is with you and behind you as you navigate your feelings and move toward acceptance. And though your role in your family has changed, your place never will. As you told me tonight, “I found you, and you found me. And then we were a family.” Truer words were never spoken!
He’s sweet, good-natured, positively beautiful–and he’s Oscar and Edgar’s beloved baby brother! It took us two-and-a-half years to get to this day, but we now know for whom we were waiting. His homecoming today was smooth and seamless; and though he’s been home for only a few short hours, it feels as though he’s always been here. Welcome home, August! A world of love awaits you!
He woke up at 6:30 AM today proudly announcing–just in case we had forgotten–that today is his birthday! Five years ago today we were setting up Oscar’s room, a bundle of nervous anticipation and excitement. Friends were over, dropping off an ever-practical and much appreciated box of diapers, and as we were chatting, the telephone rang. On the other end of the line was our social worker, Lisa. She told us in a voice as light and as gentle as any voice could be, “Your son has just been born! Would you like to come to the hospital to meet him?” We will never forget that day and will never need reminding–even at 6:30 AM. When August 17th comes to town, we know whose birthday it is! Happy Birthday, Oscar! We love you!
He’s bold, sassy, and energy personified–and on August 14th he turned four! Watching the world through Edgar’s eyes for the last four years has been nothing short of inspiring. He delights in finding a worm in the garden, running his fingers (and often his hair) through the sand at the beach, and smiles involuntarily when a cool breeze crosses his cheeks. He involves every part of his body in every artistic endeavor, meal, and laugh. He is hearty and pleasant and friendly and affectionate. And he is our love! Happy Birthday, Beautiful Boy!
Though they’re sporting Miles and Monk t-shirts, make no mistake–this year’s Jazz Festival was less about the music and more about French fries, which Oscar proclaimed “the best ever,” and a single white feather, for which Edgar declared audibly and with gusto, “Thank you, bird!” It was also about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a hula hoop given to them briefly by a professional (?) hula hooper, rocks, a search for dinosaur bones, somersaults, and running as fast as their legs would allow. It was also about wrestling with one another, which occasionally sent gentle ladies into states of maternal worry.
And for me–though I did get a brief listen of Brian Blade and Christian McBride–it was about watching the evolution of the boys’ interactions with each other and with the festival, which they have been attending since they were in strollers. Each year brings a new adventure. And though bottle feedings and diaper changes have given way to visits to the food stands and the illustrious port-a-johns, we’re still not at the place where they can sit for long periods and listen attentively to the music. There are glimpses, but that moment is still many festivals hence.
But that’s okay . . . the secret to enjoying any experience with young children is keeping expectations reasonable. It’s not reasonable to expect an eight-hour attention span or a conversation on counterpoint of a soon-t0-be four- and five-year-old.
And just like the ocean air that they breathe each day, we hope the sounds they’re hearing seep into their souls and that not only will they never know a year when they weren’t at the Jazz Festival but that they will always feel free to experience it in a way that makes sense to them.
Was there ever a more perfect camp for Edgar than a cooking camp? Last week he spent Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday learning about the five food groups, organic selections, food preparation, and nutrition. And he couldn’t have been happier. He ate well and played well and all the while learned about and basked in one of his favorite subjects!
Next week? Painting camp! Get ready, Miss Dawn. No one paints quite like Edgar!