Monday, November 26, 2007

Our full house

We've had a good run, but it's over. Four darlings in two and a half years and we're officially done. "Out of that business," as Jason put it.

I wouldn't change it for the world. Yes, the rest of the world thinks we're crazy with four so young at once. And some days ... there are those days ... I'd have to agree. However, more times than not, I'm content in the craziness and unfazed by what surely looks to be chaos from the outside.

But, it was time. A decision not taken lightly and given careful consideration from many a perspective. How selfish am I to be satisfied with the children we have (blessed four times over) when there are two couples near and dear to my heart who would do anything on any given day to have a child, or in one pair's case, just one more?

To them it must seem unfair, really, that I'm taking our four and running. Getting up from the table, far more ahead than I came to it, and leaving the game. My winnings, so to speak, a fortune by any one's standards. It's not a gamble anymore, I've won and the prize, a gift not everyone can have.

I came to the conclusion, however, it would be far more unfair to be expecting another and to be less than thrilled about the proposition. Learning a baby was on the way was a joyous event each and every time for me, and deserving of nothing less. It would have broken my heart not to have been overjoyed upon seeing a "plus" sign. We had reached a point in our lives that a plus sign would have left me saying, "What?"

And in 33 years, I've learned a bit myself. I know in about four years, nostalgia will take hold and I'll long to hold a little bundle cradled tight in my arms. I'll have forgotten the constant pooping of a newborn, the endless bottles and the night after night after night of interrupted sleep. I'd begin to wonder, "What if?"

What if we had just one more? What if Trace could have a brother? What if there was a baby in the house again? What if we could put to good use all we've learned about pregnancy and caring for a newborn?

What ifs aren't a reason to have a baby, and neither is nostalgia.

Alena, Alivia, Trace and Alysse also deserved consideration. In four years Alena will be seven, Alivia will be six and Trace and Alysse will be knocking on the door to the kindergarten classroom. Who wants their mom dragging a baby around to kindergarten field trips and first sleepovers? Given the sacrifices they've made in a family growing so large in so short a time, as they grow older, they deserve a chance to do their big kid things without the distraction of a baby who needs constant attention.

Above all, however, in my heart of hearts, I know we're complete. And when that yearning sets in, I'll have wonderful memories of the babies we once had, and more importantly, a house full of terrific children who are potty trained, able to feed themselves and (with any luck) sleeping through the night.

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