I blame my fairly parent-free puppyhood. My dad left my mom before I met him, and I lost my mom way too early. But that doesn’t excuse my selfish thinking lately. We canines love unconditionally and selflessly after all. Hard as it may be to admit, everything is not about me. There’s a nervous energy in the Schmidt home lately. It makes sense, with a baby on the way and all. But I realized today we have more than that in common. I’ve been pretty selfish, haven’t I?
I’ve been going about this (soon-to-be) big brother gig all wrong. I’ve been so worried about being a good big brother I didn’t think twice about how my people must be feeling about becoming parents. Parents. Yes, that is definitely a bigger deal than being a brother. Sure, all parts make a family whole. But being parents is one of life’s most excitingly terrifying miracles.
This all became startlingly obvious to me today when my parents were agreeing how much they miss biking together this summer. My regularly accident-prone mom is playing it safe staying away from the two-wheel balancing beam just in case her evolving center of gravity should befall her. And I noticed nerves in their conversation that I’ve been seeing a lot more of lately.
I wished I could jump in to remind them my mom didn’t learn how to ride a bicycle until her 27th birthday. It’s not really my confession to make, but I don’t think she’d mind. She grew up like any other child in every other way, but riding a bike was not part of her particular childhood story. I remember the day well.
She and dad came home with an air of excitement us dogs can sense in less obvious things like racing heartbeats and quicker breathing patterns. With them they brought a contraption I learned later was called a bicycle. I didn’t care for this new toy as it seemed to have a directly inverse relationship to my walks around the neighborhood. Instead of taking a walk with me, she would go off on a bike ride with dad.
Bike rides aren’t like car rides. No dogs are allowed on bike rides. But it seemed to bring them both joy, so I gradually let my feelings of disdain subside. Now it’s time to do the same with my nerves about being a big brother.
Because I saw it again today. Mom is already mothering the baby by staying away from something she enjoys that could put him or her in danger. Dad was an excellent (and incredibly patient) teacher with mom learning to ride a bike. Instead of catching the nervous contagion, I should be focusing my energy on reinforcing for my forever family the truth. They’ve already been parents. For three years, they’ve been the best parents a doggie could ask for. I don’t know what they’re so nervous about.