Sometimes, rather unexpectedly, my wife, Elenor, and I talk about having another kiddo. It’s weird, because I never thought we’d have one, let alone a brood. I don’t know if it’s hormones or conditioning or what, but something makes us wonder every now and again about putting another proverbial bun in the oven.
But there’s always so much to consider. Which of us would carry this babe? Could our hearts possibly love another as much as we love Harvey? Do we trust the world will be safe enough to continue bringing humans into it?
The thing that pushes me to consider it, though, is my own experience, growing up with a big sister.
From day one, I had an interpreter, a buddy, a protector, a confidant. When we were young, my sister, Joey, taught me all the stuff from cursive to cursing, and how to brave a thunderstorm. She showed me how to shave my legs without making the tub look like it should be in a slasher movie. She taught me fortitude, manners and grace.
She’s loved me through depression and dysfunction. Through bad decisions and bad haircuts. And disappointment and failure. But even at my loneliest, because of my sister, I have never been alone. And, even now that we’re less young, she teaches me all the stuff. How to parent. How to plan. How to play.
In my sister, I have everything from a (responsible) drinking buddy to a life coach. And someone who shares my history (herstory?).
It was with Joey that I ran a successful women’s apparel line at age 7, when we decided not to each have our own rooms, but instead have one room where we slept and the other where we conducted our fashion business. It was with her that I danced to Paula Abdul’s “Cold Hearted Snake” for the Wasatch Elementary School 1991 talent show. It was with her that I’d get into a sleeping bag and charge down the stairs in a pile of squeals and giggles.
She’s the person I called when I realized I was gay (and, not as I had previously worried, dead inside or broken!) and crushing on a girl. She’s who stood by me when I said my vows. She (along with her most spectacular husband) is the one who would parent our babe(s) should Elenor and I too soon depart this world.
My experience of sisterhood has fundamentally changed the way I view the world.
I am who I am because of her.
And yet, I know some extraordinary siblingless kids who are happy, healthy, socialized, thriving humans. It makes me think of the opening credits of Disney Pixar’s “The Boss Baby” when the unknowingly soon-to-be-big-brother revels in his family’s current dynamic.
“Interesting fact,” he says. “Did you know the triangle is the strongest shape found in nature?”
I feel that so much — a sense of perfection and wholeness about our three-person family. And I take great solace in knowing that Mr. Harvey has two adoring cousins nearby (thanks again, Joey) to provide companionship and shared youth.
So, who knows if Elenor and I will have another Gomberglet. But, if we do, I hope Harvey and baby-to-be-named-later (Joey may be on the shortlist) take care of each other for a lifetime.
Marina Gomberg’s lifestyle columns appear on sltrib.com. She is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org.