I'll admit something here that I will NEVER admit anywhere else. Because you can all keep a secret, right?
There is a part of me that is not quite so sad to be facing the future without the Teenager around here all the time. That part of me is already making plans about different ways to spend the time that will be freed up by my no longer needing to go to track meets and help with high school projects. That part of me? Calls itself Bug's Mama.
When people plan a family with more than one child, there are a lot of things you just don't think about. Oh, you question whether you'll be able to love each additional child as much as you love the first. And you find out that was silly, because OF COURSE you can and do. But I don't think parents really give as much HONEST thought to being able to spend an equal amount of time with each child. You think you can. You even think that you DO. But I would be willing to bet if you asked your youngest child, they would tell you that you spend more time with your oldest. And you know what?
And here's why: You had that child first. That means, by default, they've had you longer; and had you to themselves. That is a claim that no other child you will ever have can make. But your youngest child; if they're patient and smart, will realize that there will come a day when they, too, will have you all to themselves. And if they're really smart, they'll realize that the time they get you to themselves is infinitely better than the time their oldest siblings had, simply because by the time they get you to themselves....you're able to do fun things with them that don't have to be interrupted by naps, bottles and diaper changes.
Things like only one game schedule to follow. Only one season of school and athletic awards. Only one round of dances. Only. One.
And you know what? The part of you that you reserve for each child, so that each child can claim their very own piece of your heart, looks forward to that time with anticipation and happiness. That part of you starts planning all the ways you are going to make enough memories fit into that time frame to completely overshadow any memory of a time when that child felt left out or not as important. (It will also begin planning ways to make taking over the older sibling's chores sound like the Most. Fun. Thing. EVER! But that's an entirely different post.) That part of you saves your sanity when you can't believe you are actually training that oldest child to leave you.
That part of me? Is totally looking forward to more random moments of fun with this kid.
And when its time to face training him to leave me? I'm going to follow in Angelina Jolie's footsteps and adopt an entire third world country, one child at a time.