Monday, June 13, 2011

Table For...?

If you live in Southern California and have recently noticed a creepy, blonde woman staring at you while you are out with your family, well, I'm sorry about that.

See, ever since all of this went down, and I'm uncertain about the future of our family plans, I've become a little preoccupied with the dynamics of other families. So, I find myself watching families interact to see how people function with one kid, two or more kids, kids a year or two apart, kids who seem to be three or more years apart, and so on. I'm especially interested in what will necessarily be one of the only possible scenarios for us at this point: kids three or more years apart or an only child. I've come to terms with the former option. I've even embraced it. I ask myself frequently if I would really want to have another child right now, and the answer is always "No." Up until recently, I couldn't really imagine Charlotte functioning well with a sibling. Does that mean we wouldn't have been ecstatic to welcome another child into our lives before this point? Of course not. It would have been great. I just think it will be even better in a year or so.

Lately, I've even started wondering if I could be satisfied with having Charlotte be an only child. Or rather, could we possibly choose that path voluntarily? Sometimes I am just so exhausted by the all-consuming fervor of loving and raising this child. She is a FORCE. It can occasionally feel like too much. How could I possibly find the energy to laugh more, love more, worry more, feel more aggravation, more awe, more staggering wonderment at this fiery little creature who loves and needs me?

But, of course, I could. It happens every day. Every day there is a parent worrying about not being able to find room in their heart for another child, and then when the time comes, they do it. And, I want that. I want another child to love this deeply. The prospect is as exhilarating as it is terrifying.

And, maybe I will have that. Maybe in a year. Or two. Or three. I have no way of knowing. So, I study the siblings out there to try and prepare myself for all the possibilities. A few weeks ago I watched a girl of about seven hover over her sister of about two the pool. She was very maternal, very bossy, and very concerned for her little sister. It wasn't the relationship I had always envisioned for Charlotte and her theoretical sibling. I had hoped they would be peers, and that they would play together, tell each other secrets, make each other laugh. But, it was also very sweet to see the adoration in the younger girl's eyes for her big sister and the tender way in which the older girl fussed over her. And who is to say that they don't play and make each other laugh? I think I could get on board with that scenario.

I wish I had a crystal ball that could tell me exactly what the future holds for our family. Because that's really the worst part for me: the not knowing. If I could know that our kids would be exactly 4.5 years apart, I'd say "Great! Can't wait. I will continue to enjoy my life as a family of three until it's time to get knocked up, and then I'll start raising two kids!" I would even welcome the absolute knowledge that Charlotte will be our only child. I would grieve the loss of the family of my dreams, but once I accepted it, I could go on with my life without worrying about getting pregnant and staying that way. I could start solidifying my career plans for when Charlotte starts school. I could start planning international trips for our permanently small family. I could make it work.

But, I don't know what will happen. If I am able to get pregnant again, I won't know that I'll be able to stay that way. I'll worry. I'll panic. I'll assume the worst. If I see even a hint of blood on my toilet paper, I will KNOW that it's all over. It won't matter how common spotting is because experience has taught me that it's the end for my pregnancy. And I will waste no time in rebelling by eating all the lunch meat and sushi I can find, drinking a couple gallons of coffee, a bottle of wine, and snorting coke off a hooker's stomach.

Okay, maybe that's a tad dramatic. I'll skip the coffee. Just in case.

In all seriousness, I am enjoying not trying to get pregnant at the moment. I have been trying to make the most of this stage by going out with friends, planning trips, and arranging date nights. It's freeing to not be obsessing about a potential pregnancy and just enjoying life in the moment. I am looking forward to taking my daughter to the beach and splashing in the waves with her with nothing to distract me. But, it's looming, this unavoidable preoccupation with expanding our family and all the doubt and uncertainty that it entails.

I just hope that these months spent healing will pay off and I'll handle it better than I expect.

I'll drink to that. BECAUSE I CAN RIGHT NOW! There's always a bright side.


  1. Man, I just wish...I wish there were a way that other people could shoulder some of the burden of conception/pregnancy. Sometimes that's the worst part of it, that no one can pee and check, no one can count kicks, but you.

    All that worrying is exhausting even under the best circumstances. So in the end, it's good that you're taking some time for coffee and hookers. They're good for you. :)

    (And this was really beautiful, by the way. It made me sniffly.)

  2. Can you drink to that for me too? Because I cannot. ;D

  3. Oh the not knowing, it's torture. And trying to believe the "things will work out the way they are supposed to" stuff doesn't help much.
    Taking a break from worry sounds like a great idea to me, especially when it gives you the clarity to write posts like this.

  4. For what it's worth, I don't think the next one will be as big a trial as C. No force in the universe would give you two of those.

  5. Well good for you! Drink one for m toom because Im at work! I can't imagine having more than one at this point. My child is 7 and well I find it impossible to think about starting over, than and Im currently single and divorced. Just doesn't sound like its in the cards for me! :) Good luck lady! Dont stress it will all come together somehow for the best!

  6. We have seriously contemplated the nature of our family as well. I went through a time where I thought I could be ok with just one, and I still ask myself that from time to time. After a lot of thought, I have concluded that my family does not feel complete with just one. I don't know when we'll have another, but I know it will happen, and even though it's not the scenario I imagined, they will still be siblings and love/hate each other, and then when they are adults, hopefully they will continue to have a relationship, especially when age doesn't seem as important.

  7. I have observed that most people get one cuckoo child and one calm child. Lucky you, you got the cuckoo one first. After this it will seem like gravy on doughnuts or whatever your mixed metaphorical simile of choice.

    Also, my children, who are 22 months apart, boss each other constantly. In fact the other day my 3 year old was bossing a baby BECAUSE HE CAN. It's the only way they can get out from under me and my nonstop bossing ways.

    Which is not to discount your other poignant points. The unknown is absolutely the worst. And not knowing what to mourn, when, or for how long. Or what to celebrate.

    I second what mmeperpetua said: I wish there was some way we could help shoulder the load. I guess twitter is for that.

  8. We've flirted with thinking about what our family will end up looking like, and I think the question is the hardest part. If you could just KNOW, then you could just plan!

    And at least we can share a drink while you figure out the plan!