Sunday, March 7, 2010

Little Blessings.

Last month was my youngest daughter's 5th birthday. I truly enjoy this child of mine. I have two other children, a son, almost 13, and an 11 year old daughter. They really force me to concede that my life would be truly empty without them.

I grew up as the fourth child with four brothers- five children within seven years. There were many times I wished for a sister, or wished to be an only child, but my brothers taught me many things. I learned how to handle the teasing - alot of teasing. I learned how to play practical jokes. I learned how to throw a punch properly. I learned how to play street hockey. I learned to abhor sports on tv after watching it non-stop as a child. I learned that putting your name on an item to insure it's there later rarely works. I learned to love The Who (after being locked in a bedroom with non-stop record playing for 8 hours). I knew all the words to Pink Floyd's The Wall (I was 11) when all my friends were singing Village People songs. I learned that my brothers were each completely different from the other. I learned how to squeeze myself into a car and expect no leg room. I learned that all my favorite foods would always be the first ones eaten by my brothers. I learned that if anyone picked on me, I would always have back-up. I learned that someone was willing to drive cross country with me. I learned that being the only girl did not save you from a father's punishment. I learned to only let guys come to the house that were worthy. I learned that my brother's friends always treated me with respect. I learned that Barbie could only be a nurse to GI Joe, and GI Joe was NEVER to be confused with Ken.

I learned that my brothers were willing to share with me - Major Matt Mason toys; a catcher's mitt with which I used to play outfield, as it was the only way I could hope to catch a ball; Romeo & Juliet school book I took from my ninth grade brother when I was in 6th grade, so I could read it first; time to teach me how to drive a car; homemade storybooks created to make me feel better when I was sick; donning pirate gear so I didn't feel bad when I wore a patch after eye surgery; tutoring in trigonometry when I was in 10th grade; cool music, not top 40 stuff; Edgar Allen Poe and Sherlock Holmes books.

I always knew I wanted children. Before I even met Rico Suavé, I had a collection of children's picture books, and Winnie-the-Pooh and Disney Princess movies.

When I met my dear husband we had many similar goals. We both wanted a couple children and for me to stay home with them. The hours I worked as a retail manager before children were varied and long- sometimes 6am-6pm, sometimes 11am-10pm. We both knew that we didn't want the children raised at a daycare center. We also knew after out second child, that we were done. I had had two c-sections. The doctor advised against further pregnancy as I had split my pubic bone. And we were content with one son and one daughter. I had always wanted the son to be oldest, in hopes that he would guide and teach and protect any younger sisters, just as my brothers had done for me.

When we moved from California to Virginia, my oldest was 3 and my daughter was 1 1/2 years old. We gave away all the extra baby stuff to help keep costs down for moving cross-country. We kept only a crib, changing table and a stroller.

Two months after I moved to Virginia I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked. I sank to my knees next to the wall in the dining room and cried for hours. We had no extra money, my husband had taken a pay cut with the move. We were still paying mortgage on a house in Cali that wasn't selling, while simultaneously paying rent in Virginia. I was afraid to tell my husband. When I did tell him that night he couldn't speak.

It took a few days for us to face reality, and we just decided it was something we had to deal with. We sold the house in Cali, bought one in Virginia, and settled in as best we could with what life gave us. At this time a best friend had suffered a miscarriage only months before, a sister-in-law had been trying for years to get pregnant, and I knew they would never understand my feelings.

At 9 weeks I started spotting and went to see my OB-GYN. I found that the fetus had stopped growing even though my body thought it was still pregnant, and she prescribed medicine to force the miscarriage to completion. The whole thing took a week, painful and messy, but done.

Everyone felt so bad for me. And I felt so guilty that I was elated and relieved. All I can remember really thinking was that now I didn't have to buy a mini-van to fit three car seats!

So life was relatively smooth and fun until the migraines hit. Several a week, these were punishing. I went off birth control and it took approximately 1-2 years to find all the triggers that caused them.

When I turned 34, I asked my husband if he wanted another child, because if so, I wanted it before I was 35. We both decided, no, 2 children were enough. Well life is never so easy as a simple decision. When I was 36 I got pregnant. As with the other two, I somehow knew immediately. Let me just say with conviction for anyone reading this-pulling out is not effective birth control!

Though there was shock with this discovery, there was also excitement and happiness and acceptance.

After the delivery of my second healthy little girl, following another separation of the pubic bone, and another c-section, I decided to have a tubal ligation. My doctor had recommended it after my second child, but I wasn't ready to do that. However, after the last baby, I knew my body could not handle another baby. Apparently those child bearing hips I had been cursed with really didn't really help me much.

So now we have the youngest who just turned 5. She is my special surprise gift. She makes me laugh everyday with her funny way of looking at life. I love how her older brother teases her mercilessly (even though I tell him to stop), and it warms my heart how her older sister nurtures her and plays with her.

I feel like I have come round full circle. My brother, three years older than me, says he sees our past childhood relationship when he watches my children interacting with each other. I am so glad I have been blessed with my children.

But how do I tell my husband that I really wish I could have had atleast one more?