this lady pulling two young kids behind her to the park in a wagon? neither screaming? neither crying? neither chomping at the bit to escape? how can this be?
lately, i’ve begun to wonder this while simultaneously looking up at the clouds to see the giant thunderhead that’s about to send down a bolt of lightning to strike me dead.
never in a million years, after dealing with ruth for so long and then adding another to the mix, would i have dreamt it possible. but here i am, against all odds. pulling my little blue wagon to the park. playing at the park. and pulling it home. without so much as a hiccup. what gives?
what gives is i didn’t know then what i know now: the power of the second sibling. sure, sometimes i’m pulling my hair out because one is going this way and one is going that way and i have to decide who is in the larger peril. but, then, there are those magic times. like these walks to the park.
the power of the second sibling is as follows. the younger sibling will distract and mellow out the first sibling while simultaneously be so fixated on the first sibling, they never think to want to get out of the cart or what have you. magic.
i mean, ruth by herself at that age would never have stayed in the wagon for that length of time. ah, the dilemma of the first or only child. one of my friends parents recently put it into terms that really struck a chord with me. they said that the first sibling has to eek out an existence, the lone child amongst a sea of adults. whereas the following siblings are simply born into the culture of the first one. ruth had a much harder time than joel. she struggled with her place, her role, her identity with us much more than joel. and we with her. joel just kind of follows the path worn by ruth.
in any case, i’m not complaining. i do wonder if i shouldn’t start wearing a lighting rod duct taped to my head on these outings, though.