Let me tell you a story.
One morning, just a few days after Asher was born, I told Everett, “We’re going to go on a special Mama/son date today!” It would be our first time alone together since he became a big brother. I wanted so much for him to know how precious he is to me. We decided to go to Peet’s for a “sparkle cookie.”
We got into the car, and suddenly Everett was sad. “I don’t want to go.”
“What do you mean, buddy? Why not?”
“I want to bring Asher.”
“You want to bring Asher on our Mama/son date?”
“It’s ok for you to have some special time with me without Asher, too.”
“I know, but not today.”
So I went back into the house and loaded up Asher and his diaper bag, and off we went to Peet’s. Everett wanted to push the “carriage,” as he called the stroller. (Thank you, Daniel Tiger.) He pushed his little brother into the coffee shop, beaming with pride.
The three of us sat at Peet’s and Everett and I ate cookies while Asher peered around silently with wide eyes. Then we stopped at the playground where Everett went down the big slide all by himself “because I’m a big brother now.”
There are so many other stories I could tell you. Stories of sleep deprivation, of complete meltdowns, of trying to figure out how to lovingly, firmly parent a preschooler whose world has just turned upside down. Those stories are important, too. It’s important to name the hard things about this season. But when those stories become the only stories I tell, they become all this season is about.
I’ve been thinking about the stories we tell. They have so much power to shape our reality. The stories become memories, and those memories shape who we are. I know this is true with Everett, and on a hard day I will often tell him a story about the day before bed, ending with a reminder about how much we love each other. The stories I tell shape my reality, too. What reality am I shaping?
I want to remember the good things about this season, and so I need to tell those stories.
My friend Kate, who also just had a baby, is my go-to middle-of-the-night text buddy. We commiserate about the sleep deprivation and how often our boys are waking. It’s been so helpful to talk with someone who knows exactly how hard this can be. It helps me feel normal.
Today we committed to telling each other one good story every day. This morning we started with snuggles and sweet moments between siblings.
I feel better already.