In just 5 days, I’ll give birth to my fourth baby. So close, and yet it seems so far away.
With each subsequent child, there’s been less time to think about the next, new, tiny human being that will soon become part of the everyday fabric of our lives. Less time to worry about the what-ifs. (What if breastfeeding doesn’t work out again? What if the baby has colic or (insert the name of some illness or disease first-time parents might worry about incessantly) What if we are mistaken for Walking Dead extras because this baby has no room of his own and must bunk up with us indefinitely and we aren’t. sleeping. at. all.) Less time to think about creating the perfect nursery or buying the perfect going-home outfit or even making sure you have the barest essentials at home. That reminds me, this kid really needs some diapers.
Less time for everything.
The past few weeks, my world has been filled with the end-of-school madness that occurs every June. The mad dash for teacher gifts and volunteering for this or that, or feeling guilty when I can’t. Of making sure my oldest has clean pajamas for pajama day, a hat for hat day and is signed up for the adequate number of weeks of summer camp once school ends. Of making sure my middle guy doesn’t feel left out. Of making sure my youngest knows she’s still my baby even though someone is coming to supplant her. Of trying to let my husband know how much I appreciate him pulling double duty when he gets home from work. Of trying to squeeze in some last minute freelance work and making progress on my manuscript and ridding our home of extraneous things because it improves my feng shui and makes me less grouchy (usually). Of trying to counteract my back pain and heartburn with a body pillow and Zantac. Of life.
Let’s face it, the more people in your family, the busier life gets.
But this is not a bad thing. And I don’t mean to make it seem like I am not excited for this new little person to arrive and become part of our family. But it’s not like the birth of your first child, when you’d have the time to daydream about how life was going to be so much fuller. Or the second, when you’re giddy with anticipation over a sibling for your first-born. Or even the third, when you ponder with keen curiosity how the dynamics of your little family might change.
No, the 4th is just different.
It’s like date night with your spouse. You’re psyched it’s going to happen. But you also know exactly how the evening will proceed. You’ll make reservations and dress up. Wear heels, maybe. You’ll have a pre-dinner drink. Eat. Order dessert. A couple more drinks. Talk and laugh. Yawn. And by 10pm, the novelty has worn off and next thing you know you’re complaining about how loud it is, how tired you are and how you wish you were home watching a movie together in your PJ’s, but you agree to stay out at least a half-hour more so the baby-sitter doesn’t think you’re a couple of total lame-o’s.
It’s like that.
And I’m ok with it. Because I know that as soon as the nurse puts that baby in my arms, I’ll look down at him – at his perfect little face and the familiar button nose that graces the faces of his three siblings - and, even though I’ve been here three times before, it’ll suddenly feel new again.
I’ll wait patiently for my three kids to come visit their new brother and revel in their reactions to his tininess. I’ll hug them all as if I haven’t seen them in weeks and remark how big they look even though it’s only been hours since I’ve seen them last. They’ll take turns holding the baby, walking down the hall to get some italian ice from the snack room and ask me a thousand times to tell them how the baby got out of my belly. And then? Then we’ll begin the swift but sweet transition to a family of six. And there you have it.
Everything will be familiar and new, weird and wonderful all at once.
Life will stand still for a few days. But then it will go on, slightly altered, but not drastically different. Soon, we’ll be rushing off to karate class and hockey practice. To music class and playdates. But in between the big things – stolen moments in the middle of the night or early morning – I’ll realize, little by little, just how profoundly this new baby has changed our lives, how he’s changed me. And yes, while life will go on, it’ll be infinitely better.