We married young, when my husband was in the Navy, and set off on an adventure that included college, our dream careers and a big city lifestyle that wasn’t too shabby.
But after nearly a decade of hearing the words, “When are you guys going to have a baby?”, we handed our moms balloons, long-stem roses and cards with the words “Congratulations! You’re going to be grandparents.”
Just the other day my mom told me that up until that point she had given up hope that we’d ever have kids of our own.
After all, I was focused on my career and was content being mama to an Australian shepherd fur baby. And my husband was always talking about getting a boat — a big one that we could possibly even live on, or at least use for fishing trips and dream vacations.
It was a life we probably could have afforded, had we not opted for three kids that required diapers, child care, college funds and everything in between.
We stopped at three because my husband doesn’t want any more children, and I don’t want to find a different baby daddy.
It’s a touchy subject. I’m not opposed to sticking with three, but sometimes the fact that a fourth has been ruled out makes me a little sad.
I know the fourth kiddo can be a game changer when it comes to choices in vehicles, houses and lifestyles. But I’ve always wanted a big family, and we have the resources to support one.
My husband feels like he’s already compromised by going from zero to three. He’s skeptical that four would actually be the magic number for me, anyway: Would I keep trying to renegotiate for more kids?
Plus, he wants a few years between empty nest syndrome and Medicare.
I can see his views. I even respect them. But that doesn’t mean I agree with them wholeheartedly, at least at this point in my life.
A few months ago, I realized that I’ve caught a case of “baby fever.” I look around and it feels like everybody I know is expecting, wearing a baby in a designer sling or talking about how much they want a baby.
I find myself walking down the baby aisle at department stores and grocery stores, even though I don’t need any of those items.
It doesn’t help that one of my friends just had her fourth baby, and she makes it look way too easy and manageable.
And to top it all off, our youngest child is in kindergarten now, and the baby chapter of my life is closed, apparently forever unless there is some type of statistically impossible miracle.
But then I look at our youngest son. He just lost his first tooth, and he’s begun to read. He really wants to be a big kid. He’s even sleeping in his own bed on most nights.
Our kids are getting more independent. They can fix their own cereal for breakfast, and entertain each other — sometimes without fighting — for a few hours so that we can take care of things around the house that have been put off for years because we were in baby/toddler/exhausted parents survival mode.
We’re just a year away from having all of the kids old enough to go on an adventure vacation at Yellowstone — one that involves horseback riding and white-water rafting.
I envy my husband’s ability to “look forward” and think about all of the great opportunities ahead. I tend to look back, and miss the stages that we’re losing as the kids grow older.
I know it’s silly, but lately I’ve been thinking about getting a puppy or maybe even a kitten — something to help settle down that desire to mother a baby.
A fur baby would probably be much easier then my other plan: traveling to another country with Angelina Jolie to get a baby for adoption. (Although, if that opportunity arises, I think I already have a name picked out.)
Meanwhile, my husband has begun shopping again for a boat — the dream he says he put on hold 13 years ago when he learned he was going to become a father. It’s a huge decision, and one that will take time, money and some agreement between the two of us. I guess it’s a lot like parenting.
Anyway, if he can make the numbers work, I think we should name the boat “Baby No. 4.”Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/edblog @Lisa_Pemberton