The bunny came hopping through our home last night, and the girls had a grand ole time (I may be mixing holiday metaphors here, sorry about that) this morning collecting the resulting droppings. Much, much too early this morning, before the coffee completed it's brewing cycle even, there was lively rejoicing and giggling and sugar ingesting--as if sugar would only be available for a limited time and that time was rightthisminute fortheloveofgod--and there was wonder.
It didn't matter that the damn (tired) bunny forgot to remove a price tag (or four) from the non-edible portion of the stash. Price tags that may or may not, by the way, have coincided with the freshly crumpled Target bags in the recycling bin; I'll never tell. Because crumpled Target bags are so very unimportant to this holiday...we're talking about wonder here, people, and the fact that Addie still possesses it so fiercely that no measure of perceived evidence to the contrary can shake her belief system. I don't know how much longer we, as a family, can cling to this particular shred of innocence, and it is bittersweet, as a parent, to be whisked along in it's peaceful flow.
Harper has been "in the know" for a couple of years now, and our family exists in that limbo world of one child having achieved a right of passage and one child quickly approaching; everything celebrated in tandem with separate expectations and joint anticipation. It's a privilege to watch them together, to witness the tender grace with which Harper treats Addison's innocence then winks at us with the wisdom of someone years beyond her own.
That's the thing about being the first born: the exileration of knowledge is tempered by the responsibility to protect your younger sibling; your milestones never belong solely to you because they are the beginning of a forward movement for your family, the first step to a change in time and space for that entire family, a signal that the family is growing, taking on a new shape.
And, that's the thing about being the baby of the family: your milestones never belong solely to you, either, because they represent the completion of the family step forward. Every stage Addison leaves is left behind for all of us, every new knowledge she gains is a sliver of innocence we loose that no one is going to come behind her and reintroduce to us.
The girls forge forward and redefine us daily. Harper paves the way and Addie pushes us out of our comfort zones. We've traded our diaper bags for backpacks and tote bags and, heaven help us, purses of their own that contain wallets and lip balm. We've traded baby teeth for orthodontic consultations. We've traded the Wiggles for the Wizards of Waverly Place, and ballerina wall hangings for magazine centerfolds of pop stars.
And, it's good. It's all good.
But, for at least one more year, the bunny remains. And that is even better.