"....Oh what joy,
you have a boy!
And so what fun
now that you're done!"
We were done. We were certain of it. There was a boy for him and a girl for me, and what more could we want for our family?
I talked to my OB/GYN about getting my tubes tied. We were positive, I assured him that we didn't want any more children. He counseled that we wait and discuss it a while longer. My husband and I were in out early 20s and that sweet baby boy was home after6 weeks in the NICU, but he was far from healthy. If he died, the doctor pointed out (a real possibility), then we might want to have another baby. He told me to wait until our small son was a year old. If he made it to his first birthday, we'd schedule surgery. During the week of #2's first birthday, we discovered that, despite our efforts, I was pregnant again. We weren't quite as done as we thought we were.
As our lives went on, we declared ourselves to be "done" many times. Each time we thought our family to be complete and perfect, and each time we were wrong. 5 children later, we no longer make that statement. We've learned that "done" isn't up to us. "Finished" is a God thing, and He's so much smarter than we are.
This past Sunday as I stood in the pew with our family, I looked at that long line of children, and I choked up a bit. I glanced at the profile of our eldest son. I realized again how tall he is getting and how close he is to being grown. Six years from now, he will be headed off to college and no longer a child. I welled up with tears at the thought of the reality of being done 12 years ago and what our lives would be like without the 5 youngest children, how quiet our home would be now, and how painfully silent it would be in just a few years' time.
I will be 43 when he's 18. 43. If I'm blessed with the life-span of the women in my family, that will mean another 50 years after he's gone. 50 years in a house with no children. I can't even imagine it.
My neighbors talk about all of the things they will do and all the personal dreams they will fulfill once they reach their child-free years, and I will admit to envying them those plans at times. I know for certain, however, that I wouldn't trade the sound of giggling children or the cacophony of children's voices or even the clutter of all of their toys for all the freedom which my peers will soon enjoy.
If we had followed the wisdom of this age, we would be a short 6 years away from freedom, peace, and quiet. 6 years from our lives once again belonging only to us. 6 years from a quiet and orderly existence. I'm so glad it's no longer a place I want to be.
While I may daydream and play with the "what-ifs" in my mind, my mental meanderings are interrupted by the voices of my life's work, my magnum opus. Soon enough, the day will come when my babies are all grown and gone from my home, and the Computer Guy and I will look at each other in stunned disbelief at the silence and order in our home. We will breathe a contented sigh and then do the only sensible thing...
fill our house with grandchildren. Please God, may there be many.