Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Driving to nowhere and everywhere
One of Max’s favorite activities is sitting in our minivan's driver seat and pretending to drive places. Lately, he wants to go to firehouse restaurants. He’ll steer the wheel, put on the blinker, mumble to himself (I assume about the bad drivers on the road).
I sit in the passenger seat, chat with him, check email or generally ponder life. I think about Max wanting to explore places, especially restaurants, and how he used to run screaming out of them when he was little. How this boy has changed! I ponder upcoming work, compile a mental list of stuff in the house that needs fixing, make plans for Max’s bar mitzvah next April and consider that when the baby arrives, the two of us can hang in the back and Max can chauffeur us around.
Lately, thoughts about the baby have been consuming these pretend drives with Max, particularly the division of my time. Max needs a fair amount of attention. Sabrina needs lots, too, because she is well aware of what Max gets and demands special attention as well. There is only so much of me to go around. How will I handle it?
“I love fire trucks!” Max announces out of nowhere. He's making sure that I haven't forgotten since the last time he told me, maybe 20 minutes ago.
“Yes, you love fire trucks!” I agree, and he continues driving on his merry way.
I ponder the stuff we need to get for the baby. I'm grateful we still have a bassinet from the kids' baby days; we've given everything else away. As high-tech as gear has gotten, you just can’t go wrong with a good old bassinet.
We have four bedrooms in our house, including one in the attic that's a guest room/storage spot for random stuff. We’re planning on putting a compact crib in a sitting room outside our bedroom, which will buy us time before we either move Sabrina up to to the attic or let the boys share a room.
Sabrina can’t wait to take care of the baby, she tells me. She’s like I was at her age: I loved babies, and started babysitting at age 10. She is planning to use her allowance money to buy the baby books, and has been asking for suggestions. Adorbs, as she would say. Last night, I drove her to a lacrosse game at 7:30. I picture myself feeding a baby on the playing field. I was one of the world's most bumbling public nursers; I always ended up flashing people. Third time's the charm?
Once we have three kids, Dave and I will have to do a lot more juggling to make sure Max and Sabrina get to their activities. Years ago, a boss of mine gave a speech in which she mentioned that parenting is less about juggling and more about playing catch: Here, you handle this, catch! Oh, it's my turn, got it! In recent years, Dave and I have had a good schedule flow (what I call organized chaos). We’ll be recreating it all once the baby arrives.
This is what my brain does, when there’s not much to focus on: fret about the future. Thankfully, I have pretty much controlled the impulse when it comes to Max, as I learned the agonizing way that worrying about what lies ahead for him does me no good.
“Max, what are you going to eat at the restaurant?” I ask, rhetorically, because there is only one answer.
“Mac ’n cheese!” Max says. Then he focuses on making a turn.
And we’re driving to nowhere, with my brain going a mile a minute. I look at Max's sweet face. And I know that no matter what, we will figure out the way, like we always have.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:38 AM