There aren’t any rules about who gets to have kids and who doesn’t, and I guess that’s just as well, though we all know people who should have been steered toward hamsters instead. But let it also be said that every now and then the very best people become the best parents and might even have the best ingredients on hand when they’re whomping up the little buggers. Like, maybe the chile is a gift to the whole world. Like, is it possible the new arrival will descend on a golden cloud with pudgy arms raised in benediction? Because we could use something like that right now.

That’s sure how we felt when our friends’ first baby rolled off the assembly line. We couldn’t imagine a luckier child, and more than the usual effort had gone into his production. And now he has a baby brother. The docs said his mother was already “geriatric” for the first one, which seems rude and, as far as I can tell, means “over 26,” but the point is it can be a bit of a challenge to seal the deal in these cases. Which makes this new one a plumb miracle. Oh, sure, lots of people refer to all babies as miracles, but just between you and me, some of them are a little disappointing, Lord And Savior-wise.

Thing is, though, that first child had tributes rained on him, toys and swaddling and onesies and furniture and college funds and what-have-you. We provided some of that rain ourselves, and I even made him a complicated quilt that took a long time to put together. Not nine months, but still.
This child?
Big Brother

Haven’t sent him a thing. Big brother’s old clothes should work–he doodled in them, but they have a washing machine. They’ll give him a name at some point. We should probably send him something cute. Any minute now. We should, but we probably won’t get around to it. He’s already got something his big brother will never have.

He’s the youngest.
And that’s the greatest thing ever. Dave and I, we know. We’re both the babies of the family. We had it made. The people in charge would snatch us out of the way of a speeding train but other than that? Go play. Figure it out yourself. Mommy’s napping.

I’m the last of four children. Our parents were fairly strict. By the time I showed up (let’s not pretend there was any planning involved) they were old, too. They didn’t torment us with their visions for our future, but they definitely had standards for our behavior and were not remotely wheedleable. As a Brewster child, you might not get what you wanted, but you didn’t suffer over thinking you mighta coulda if you whined long enough.

You wouldn’ta couldn’ta.
And even so, when all of us got together as adults, and I made some kind of casual but shocking pronouncement, and my parents shrugged and wandered off, my oldest sister looked at me in disbelief and said “You’ve done wonders with Mom and Dad!”
The number of photographs of me as a child are in the dozens. Yeah, sure, there are even fewer of my brother as a child, but those Daguerrotypes don’t hold up. These days, first children are immortalized in pixels a thousand times a week, and the second child has to settle for his mug shot.

So listen up, new little dude. Your big brother is pushing Three, and he may be all walking around upright like a genius tyrannosaur and everything, but at some point  he’s going to do some things, some currently unimaginable things, that your parents are going to want to talk to him about. They’re going to want to talk to him about his choices and how what he does affects other people and ask what he really wants out of life, and with you? They’ll be all, Whatever.

You grab that Whatever, child. That’s a wide, wide landscape, and it’s all yours. Go play in the mud, devise your own private troubles, and then shine, shine, shine.