In a heartbeat
It's (only) 8 p.m. and I'm beyond tired. Both kids are down - for now. I have dark rings under my eyes, my hair style is non-existent and I've just detected a scratch in my throat. Great, days of sleep deprivation left me defenseless.
Mothering one child can be tough. Mothering two children can be rougher. I'm not sure if simple math applies. One plus one equals double the stress? I don't know. I guess, it depends on the kids and the days and the weather. It certainly doesn't get easier adding more to the mix though.
So why even bother? Why not just have one, spoil it rotten, celebrate all the milestones that come with parenthood (first birthday shindig - bouncy castles; oh he's walking - bring on the balloons...) - do it big, but do it only once? Possibly save yourself some time and some stress, some grey hair, but certainly save yourself some money.
I would never judge anyone that is done after one baby. For whatever reason. It's probably even a smart idea keeping world population, college tuition and relaxing evenings as a couple in mind. I however, was crazy enough to have two. So many out there are crazy enough to have three, four, five, more.
9 months in, I full, truly figured out why. It was nice, doing pregnancy again. Feeling the miracle of life growing inside me. The second birth was ...
Pause. I actually just had to leave the desk, because one was asking for milk, the other one was screaming from teething pains.
So, where was I? The second birth was quicker, more intense. Seeing another baby grow has been wonderful. Watching my husband love another one so strongly has been beautiful. All these things though, we had experienced before and even though, I enjoyed it just as much the second time around I can understand how this wouldn't convince anyone to have another one.
Yesterday though, we went apple picking. Out of nowhere Smilla (a toddler who thinks sharing is a total waste of time) took an apple and held it up to Winter. He grasped it with his tiny baby fingers and gnawed on it. She said "I want my brother to have one, too".
"I want my brother to have one, too"
And the love she has for him poured out of her eyes and out of her heart and out of her mouth, onto the apple and his fingers, his hands and his tiny body. The love got bigger and it made its way into the grass and flooded through the fallen leaves. The love went up the trees and into the sky and around the sun. And when he looked back at her, his love for her and his eagerness to be loved by her sparkled in his eyes. Big waves of love rushed through the orchard and washed over me then.
And even tough, we couldn't know of this - I think this love they have for each other, is what makes it worthwhile.
The kisses she gives him. The tiny baby hand that reaches out for her.
Last year, when my father passed and I was finding comfort in the tight bond I share with my sisters, my best friend - an only child - said "I just realized, that if I loose my dad, 50% of my family is gone". That's some brutal math. Yet, there is no perfect multiplier out there, to make a family feel whole, or to protect them from feeling the great loss of loosing a parent. Every family has to find a good number for themselves. For many, three is a charm and that is good. For us, four has been feeling "rounded". Winter has filled a void we didn't know existed. Complete? I don't know.
Having a baby drains you. It drains you until you are completely empty and then it fills you back up with love and patience and kindness. Having another does that all over again. Twice as much.
So when people (and a lot of people ask me) ask me "Can you recommend having another?" I can't really give them a perfect answer. Logically? No, absolutely not. But, then again, are the most logical decisions always the loveliest? I'd have Winter again in a heartbeat. And I put his tiny clothes away in a box to keep - just in case.