You know how in those commercials you see the bright room with the white fluffy blankets and pillows on a bed and the kids coming bounding in and jump on the bed? The mom and dad pop up from the covers smiling huge smiles and they all laugh together in slow motion. Well, my life is TOTALLY like that except for a few small things. For one, my sheets aren’t white. And usually it is dark in my room when the kids come in because it is around 6 am. And well, they usually aren’t bounding it is more like shuffling in footie pajamas. The laughing is usually a little more like one whining, “I am hungry” and the other saying “I need to go pee-pee” with the baby crying in the background. To be honest we don’t usually pop up from the covers laughing but I do roll over and groan “Oh God, please no.”
Call it bad planning or lack of planning or even no planning, but I got pregnant with my third baby on the night of my twins 1st birthday. I remember thinking at the time “This might not be the best time for this.” Turns out it was the best time for it. Call it what you will, but after a lot of chocolate frosting and clearly too many glasses of wine we celebrated surviving one of the hardest years we’d had… yet.
Within a week I knew. After three consecutive days of feeling that familiar nausea, I knew. Let me remind you that it had really not been that long since the last time that I had had that familiar feeling.
My husband was two months into the fire academy, working four, ten-hour days and studying late into the night. He was under pressure, exhausted and stressed. I remembered three weeks after our twins were born we were awake in the middle of the night feeding them. My husband looked at me with pure exhaustion and said, “We are not having any more kids.”
I knew as soon as I had the twins that I wanted to do it all over again. I secretly thought that if I waited until the twins were around 4 years old that I could convince my husband that it would be “fun” to have another one. I knew that I would have a third and I knew it was going to be a girl. But when I thought I was pregnant I wanted to be sure before I said anything to him because I imagined the fallout. The freak out, if you will.
I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub when I told him. We had put the twins to bed and were brushing our teeth in the bathroom adjacent to their room in our tiny old house. My husband covered his face with both his hands and started to laugh. He gave me two thumbs up and said “Yeah!” with a big, goofy, terrified smile on his face. I think he was laughing to not cry.
As it turns out, the freak out was all mine. A week later we stood in our tiny kitchen also adjacent to the kid’s room after they had been put to bed. I cried and let the guilt and fear pour out of me. We were going to have three kids that were 20 months apart. My husband told me that it was going to be okay, that we were going to be okay and that we could do it. He told me that our twins were going to be great, older siblings. That we were going to love this new baby and the twins were going to love this new baby and that they were all going to grow up together, playing together and doing things together. That this new baby was going to be loved more than any baby could ever hope for.
In that moment I remembered all the reasons why I married him. I felt courage. I was going to need it.
So yeah, there are no fluffy white sheets and there is no slow motion laughter in our house. It is constant noise and constant triage. Someone is always hungry and someone always has to go pee or just went pee or just peed on the floor. We will always be that crazy family that everyone turns to look at in public. We will always be that family that everyone prays they don’t have to sit next to on the plane or at the restaurant. People will always say, “Wow, you have your hands full” or “Wow, I am tired just watching you.” No, we will always be THAT family but my husband was right about all those things that he said that night nearly two years ago and we wouldn’t have it any other way.