“Sheppard has a really infectious smile.” Anson threw that out last night just as we finished watching Shameless (our new favorite show). I pulled my body off the couch and smiled in agreement, because you know, I agree. Then he followed up with, “So does Smith.” and of course the inevitable, “Roan, too.” And to make sure he was clear, “They’re all just extraordinary boys.”
Making my way downstairs I ha ha ha laughed at him. Because Anson shares my Crazytown burden of not being able to notice a great thing about one of our sons, without making sure to notice something about the others. I do it too. If Smitty totally nails his first time on a scooter (which he did this week), I excitedly videotape it and send it to Anson. Followed by a video of Sheppard doing whatever. Smiling. Laughing. Eating dirt. Whatever. And of course Roan. At least send a picture of Roan. What’s he doing? Sitting in the shade. Caught it, sent it, maybe even Instagrammed it.
I accept that it will never be exactly equal. We’re raising individuals here, not a team. But we operate as a team. And when we don’t, things fall apart. Or get hard. Or just make me tired. So inevitably I’m wired to think of my boys as my team. And even though I can sit here and tell myself, “Hey sister you’re a total loon, it’s ok to love one of these dudes momentarily with extra-super-duper gusto”, I can’t so much change my impulses to include the others.
If I’m extra-lovin one, I have to extra-love the others.
Actually, it’s not a bad thing if I frame it that way.
But am I absolutely off the rails in this? I mean – I can see how ridiculous it is that Anson can’t notice a great thing about Shepz without noticing the others – and I hope I’m not that bad but I actually know I am. I suspect I am worse. When Shepz started playing in the sprinklers for the first time, I hurriedly transplanted Smitty from what he was doing over to share the experience, the stimulus, the life-changing experience of being sprinkled with water. Then I begged Roan to come and watch because it was so funny, but also because I wanted him to share share share this as well.
In the telling it sounds a bit cuckoo. But I’m not asking if I’m alone in this – no, no. I know I am not because poor Anson my beloved is just as cuckoo. I’d like to know if it’s as common as I hope it is, though. Weigh in – do you feel guilty enough when noticing something great about one of your kids that you immediately notice or include the others? Or are you cool guy enough to understand that they are individuals, experiencing things in their own time?