that is the second most asked question people have for me. The first being, “are they all yours?” My usual answer is yes, and then no.
I have been thinking a lot lately about that second question, not because we are debating or even thinking of having another child because we both would answer absolutely not. I don’t quite know how to formulate into words or express exactly what I feel, but I will attempt it, because I know I am not alone in my thinking.
Awhile back some of you may remember an emotional post of mine entitled Capable, well, it was emotional for me. And I cannot believe that I wrote that over a year ago. This may give you some insight into how much can change in a year. I was torn between feeling inadequate because of the number of children I had, wondering if I was doing them a disservice by giving them several siblings, and the joy I see when they are together, happy and content with each other. Well, a year later, I feel nothing but confidence that I haven’t accomplished anything greater in my life than giving them each other. I never have heard in my home the words or phrases such as “i’m bored”, “no one will play with me”, “can we invite another kid over to play”. They are so content and happy together, the 3 of them. There is nothing better in the world than to see how they can make each other laugh better than anyone else in the world. Without thinking they just include each other in games they create, making sure to have a character for all 3 of them. Now, here is the dilemma, well not really a dilemma, but it’s tugging on my heart strings for sure. Now that we have decided not to have any more children, are they missing out? I am amazed beyond words at how having Greta changed the dynamic of our family. The qualities that Gunnar and Sawyer possess now because of her are all because of her. I think all the time about what a fourth child would bring to our family. How Greta would be if she were to be an older sister, or what it would be like for her to have a sister. And I can say 100% that if we could financially afford it, we would most definitely have a fourth.
But we can’t. And I won’t sacrifice raising my kids in the manner I choose to answer my what ifs. I won’t trade the organic food, or the swim lessons, or the art supplies, or the summer camp, or the ability for me to work part time instead of full time. But I cannot help but wonder what it would be like if we could have all that and give the kids what they want more than anything. They ask almost daily for another brother or sister. Just today, we were driving home and Gunnar had asked if we could have another kid. My usual answer, “don’t you think we have enough kids?” was met with Sawyer’s response, “but mama, then we could have one more person for all our games! we could have an even bigger game!” And how true that is. The dinner table would be fuller, the laughter louder, no doubt more tears, but oh, the bigger games!
Last weekend I took the kids to an old theater in Santa Monica that was showing Mary Poppins. And believe it or not, it was their first time. I was probably just as excited as they were to be there to introduce them to Mary Poppins and all her wonderfulness(she’s my idol by the way). And as I was driving to the theater I thought about what it would be like if I had another sibling. If I had one more sister, or a brother. And it made me a little sad because I don’t. I am very close to my sister, and maybe that is why I am sad for what isn’t. How awesome would it be to have one more person on speed dial to call when you are excited or thrilled about something, or have that extra set of ears to tell them what a sucky day you had. Had I been an older sister, would I be more patient as a mother? The men in my life have always been very influential. My father, I don’t even need to go there. The men in my life whether they were friends or ended up as my husband, have all been special to me, and I can’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like to have a brother. Would I understand my husband better? Would I laugh louder?
I just can’t help but wonder. And I think I am a little sad that I won’t ever know. Sad for my kids too, because they will never know how one more brother or sister would’ve changed their lives. I know I need to be grateful right about now for the sister I do have, and for the three beautiful children that are mine. But in the back of my mind I know that they could have so much joy, so much happiness, from the large family that I wish I could give them. Sure, we’re large already in a way. Yet, to give them the greatest gift I could possibly think of, each other, and then have the ability to multiply that, but choose not to, it causes a bit of pain for me.
All these questions I ask myself that linger in the back of my mind and heart, I wonder if I can answer for my kids. And I can’t. Trust me, I do wish I could. And I cannot blame it on my age, or the little sanity left I may have, but we won’t have another child and I hope that my children see that at some point I had to let the what ifs remain exactly that. But I don’t think that will ever take away the mourning I have for the kids that will never be mine. For the ones we didn’t have. To my kids’ disappointment, the three amigos will just remain three. I think they are a pretty fantastic set myself, but no doubt I will forever wonder what another brother or sister would’ve brought to this family.