Living in simpler times

We got to go to the balloon races this past Saturday. Though our friends were there, it was solely a family excursion. Just Kerrie, Sierra and me. Just like the zoo a few weekends before that, and just like every night in the backyard over the past month.

Last night, we followed it all up with a trip to Dairy Queen. Dinner led to dessert. Sierra’s constant repetition – “ICE CEEM COON ICE CEEM COON” – was both cute and disturbing, though we were convinced we should fulfill her wish. After all, it was only an ice cream cone, to that point only seen in pictures, only a distant reality in a children’s book.

And it was one of the last she could have in this situation. Just Kerrie, Sierra and me.

Sierra’s ice cream cone continued a vow we made to ourselves – never verbally, never consciously, but a vow all the same. To cherish these last few days alone with Sierra. To remember what it was like when our family was just three people and a dog.

I mentioned before that our time in our old home would be an experience that only Sierra could claim. Something special she had as the older sister – as our first child; a reward for putting up with our flailing attempts at learning parenthood.

Parenting may be easier with Baby Boy Vilhauer. It will certainly be more familiar.

But regardless of the benefits that come from being number two, Sierra will always hold one thing that Baby Boy never will – memories of a first home. Memories of a smaller family. Memories of growing up and teaching us how to love something more than life itself.

It’s not that much longer before Sierra is forced to share her life with another child. I know it will be a change, but it’s a change that she’ll accept. Because she cares enough for other people to understand what it means to have a little brother. It’s instinct with her. It’s the most natural thing I could imagine her latching on to.

Until then, we’ll look back on these simpler times with joy. With a touch of nostalgia, I’m sure – not because we don’t love what’s going on, but because we equally loved this point and can never get it back.

It’s funny. I’ve been tethered to the idea of nostalgia for years. Looking back and remembering the best is something I’ve stubbornly clung to, something I constantly fall back on despite knowing I should simply stop and enjoy the good times.

Like going out for ice cream. Just Kerrie, Sierra and me. I knew what I would miss at that point. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying every minute.

Sierra teaches me something new every day.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 15th, 2009