I don't often wonder how life would be w/o E because I'm forver grateful and blessed that he's on our life. Today was one of those days, reading a bit, that I wondered for a minute how really our life would be if we only had two children. As crazy and chaotic as our life is, I know it would never be easy or manageable if we stopped at our two older boys. Our boys are rough and tumble, carrying on, emptying out bookcases, throwing rolls of toilet paper in the toilet (love that potty training!), always on the go. Nothing would ever be fair w/ our two, someone would always miss out on something, that's just the way life is-and would be if we only had one child too. To say that everything would be close to fair, I disagree-but that's my own point of view.
For me, growing up in a family of six, the priority was never about trips, or activites, but then again, it was never about money either. If money was tight, we never knew-my parents did a lot with us, more than a lot of my friends parents did, and their familes were smaller. My parents were always there for recitals, and camps, and scouting, taking turns, chaperoning on camping trips. I don't think I got less of my parents because there was more of us, if anything, sometimes I think we had too much-but that could be because we did everything together, as a family. We had one on one time, but I loved the time we spent together, the weekend trips we took, the travels we went on. I had a love-hate relationship w/ my siblings, but now, I'm glad we all have each other.
To me, adding to one's family should be about being there, for the important moments and the quiet moments too. At the same time, taking care of yourself in the quiet moments, so you don't lose sight of your own shadow. I think about my dad and his sister, who missed out on having their dad around, because he died when he was 13 and his sister was 3. I think of my grandma who took care of two children as a single mom, doing whatever it took to keep a roof over her family's head. I think of R's dad leaving his mom with him and his older sister, to fend for herself. Then I think about my aunt who has three children, the oldest having autism. It didn't stop my aunt from having her second, or her third, all while she was in her mid thirties, and her attempts at juggling time for herself, restarting her career, and having children. I think about my other aunt who is graduating from college now, with her three children in high school and junior high. That road started long ago, while her children were babies, but it was something she wanted. Then I see my mom, who had four children, yet focused so much on her children that she never took time to focus on herself. Now her children are grown, and her husband has left her. She hit rock bottom, and has struggled w/ what her life is since in her own words, she gave her life to her children. She's struggled w/ us making our own decisions, and instead of supporting us and being happy for all the good we've done, has been bitter about how we didn't do things the way she had hoped.
What does all this mean for me? It gives me a sense of understanding why I do what I do-I want to do my best for my children by taking care of myself. I feel I give them strength and independance, and the comfort in knowing that they can stretch and test their limits. They ask why, they test limits, they push boundaries, all under our watchful eye.
M has asked me why I go to work, and I told him, its so I can be a better mommy to him and his brothers. He asks me if I like it, and I do, but I always tell him I love coming home to him more. I told M and G that Daddy is going back to school, since he wants to do better, be more, have more opportunities. R knows our boys are watching him, seeing what he does, just like they watch what I do too.
I applaud those who want to stay at home full time, I never felt truly comfortable in that role. I think its because I've seen the downfall of my mom that makes me feel that if I don't do this, I'll have a harder time of letting go later on. I want to have a better relationship w/ my children, and I hope my self care makes a difference.
Along with this, I love my three boys and my husband, with all my heart. I hope E one day knows how his big brother cried more than he did today when getting his shots. Poor M, you would have thought someone was telling him E was going away for good, he didn't want anyone to hurt his baby brother. I think of G telling me about Bob the Builder "Yes, I can!" as I put him to bed. I think of E falling asleep on my chest, soothed by the bear puppet on my hand. I think of R giving me a hug and telling me that he knows I'm trying the best I can, and doesn't regret paying for my grad school tuition. He just wants me to be happy, whatever that is. If I want more children, fine. If I want to resume a career, fine. As long as I come back to him at the end of the day and tell him I love him, he's a happy man.
Its hard to believe that six years ago this month I started work at the job where I would eventually meet R. I had worked there the previous school year, but never thought I'd land a job there, it was a tough environment to break into. Who would have thought that six months later, I'd work there again, and another six months later I'd meet my future husband. Life has a funny way of working out, and I'm glad I took that leap. I was scared out of my mind to take that job, but I took that leap of faith. It was all worth it, and I look forward to whatever leaps of faith are in my future.