Once upon a time, there was a young girl who fell madly in love, and decided someday, she wanted four children.
Many years and tears later, that same girl fell insanely in love for REAL — this time with the right partner — was married, and had two beautiful daughters. Because by now she was much older and wiser, and because sometimes money matters, one day our heroine, in a moment of flaky, weary weakness, admitted to her dashingly handsome husband (who works very hard to feed his very happy albeit hungry family on a much-appreciated single-income) that perhaps their family was “supposed to” consist of two healthy and smiling daughters, that’s it. They were perfect, as a family of four.
About one year after their youngest daughter was born, however … after that beautiful baby grin revealed teeth, and that round baby belly held the same food everyone else at the table ate, and those chunky baby legs started taking Frankenstein steps, and that bald little head grew hair, and those amazing baby gurgles transformed into words with purpose … well then, the idea of having (just two!) more babies started floating around again.
Because, you see … not to give away the storyline or anything .. for me, it’s all about even numbers. I was one of three, and there was always an odd-girl-out. I love both of my sisters and I will do anything for them, but I think it might have been a little easier on all parties if my youngest sister had a twin. Or if we’d had more than one bathroom. So for me, the magic numbers have always have been: two, or four. And since I was over 30 when I was pregnant with my first, I knew the chances of four were slim.
You know the new car phenomenon? The one where you drive off the lot with a new car, and suddenly you’re seeing all of the other identical cars on the road, when you hadn’t noticed them before? Or, similar to your sixth-grade Friday vocab quiz — forgetting the definition of one word, but then suddenly seeing the word everywhere — in the newspaper, in the novel you were assigned, overhearing random conversations? Well, that’s the way I start feeling about babies once mine have reached the year-mark. Friends are having babies, other friends are pregnant again, and I’m suddenly wanting two more. Even the random 20-something with four (or was it five?) kiddos in tow at the library last week was saying, “‘They’ say when you’re done, you just know…” I don’t KNOW. I KNEW when I was ready to have kids, so by extension, then I will also KNOW when I am finished.
Unfortunately, the “everybody else is doing it” reasoning isn’t getting very far with my incredibly logical husband. (And I’m grateful for that. Really.) I am instead reminded of the landscaping/remodeling/vacations we have been putting off “until we can afford it.” We would have to buy a new car. The world is over-populated as it is. And while the romantic in me believes that the size of our family shouldn’t be decided by money, the responsible part of me acknowledges that unless I can home-school a bachelor’s degree, it must.
But … these arguments don’t seem to have any weight when I’m comforting my 1-year-old who has stumbled into my arms calling “Ma-ma” … or when I’m listening to my 3-year-old sound out words in her book. I acknowledge that we have been very blessed. But I love everything about this — the pregnancy, the delivery, the late-night feedings (OK, maybe not those so much), the amazing transformations that take place in just 12 months, helping these babes grow into incredible little people … and I’d like to think I’m good at it, and I would like an opportunity to be good at it for a couple more kids.
Or maybe I delve into other (exciting! but a little time-consuming…) opportunities for now and put baby-making on the shelf. I DON’T know.
What about you? If your family is complete, how did you know when to say “when?” Did you and your spouse disagree? How did you resolve it?
I would love your comments.
Until next time,
PS — A friend of mine also has a blog where she contemplates life and refuses to be pigeon-holed, and I love her for it (her stance, and her blog) but I’m so jealous because she has over 200 (check that, nearly 300!) more subscribers/followers than me. True, she is clever and can turn a phrase like …
an Allen wrench? a carousel? a hand mixer? a spin master? (I got nothin’.) She’s a great writer. And she posts consistently. So I’ll make you a deal, all in the name of a little healthy competition: if I can get new email subscribers (that’s you!) with each post, I’ll keep writing. Consistently. If not, well then, I’ll probably still keep writing. I’ll just be bitter that my folks didn’t give me 199 more siblings.