Elena and I went out to brunch with a couple of friends on Sunday. Our diner of choice is the Arlington (Restaurant And) Diner. This past Sunday, the Arlington Diner was closed for a well deserved holiday break. So, after agreeing to go there, negotiating time, bundling up Max, going over, and finding their "closed" notice, we altered our plans and went to the Broadway Diner.
The Broadway Diner is on Broadway in Arlington; the location defines the diner much as the Arlington Diner is defined by its location on Mass Ave in, you guessed it, Arlington. From the moment we walked in, we compared parking, lighting, hostess, waitress, frequency of water refills, style of side-potato, quality of eggs, and preference towards stuffed french toast. In fact I've done this at countless restaurants, and these days I compare brunch to the Arlington Diner.
It wasn't long ago that I compared brunch to Renee's Cafe in Somerville. Renee's isn't a diner, but I know them for brunch. They have creative omelettes and benedicts, are vegetarian friendly, often crowded, and they make delicious eggs, muffins, and pancakes. I never liked their potatoes, and rarely enjoyed their toast - these are examples of why it was such a good reference. As a restaurant compared to Renee's, you had a good chance of surpassing Renee's toast, and an ambitious chef had a fair shot at beating Renee's eggs.
This past Sunday, however, the comparison was between the Arlington Diner on Mass Ave and the Broadway Diner in Arlington. We went through the meal - everyone participated. Max slept at the end of the table, leaving his own subtle commentary on the ambiance (FYI Max loves sleeping in the Arlington Diner too).
It was as I watched Max that I considered whether Max was himself comparable. We talk about his eyes looking like mine, and his face looking like Elena's, and there is amusement regarding his long toes and lanky arms. If we had a second child, in many ways it would not be fair to compare him or her to Max. With Max we are learning as we go - with a second child we would have certain expectations from day one. With Max we don't know what to look for - with a second child Max's tricks would be immediately revealed, and Max's sibling would face a higher bar to meet our creative expectations.
We're not ready for Max to have a sibling, not yet. We don't know the challenges we'll have with ourselves, with Max, with our jobs, with anything - that's part of the challenge. When and if we cross that bridge, I'll be happy if we've learned what we can from Max. Then we can honestly make comparisons to Max - what's in common, what's new, what we love about our children and the many reasons we love them. We can't learn everything from Max, like I can't learn everything about potatoes and eggs from Renee's. I think that's great. Onward potatoes! Onward eggs! Onward Max!