Yesterday we took our boys out for donuts after church. Yes they were THAT good this week. (Amazing how the bribe of donuts affects Mass behavior!).
As we sat down at a table and I began distributing large chocolate frosteds (with sprinkles of course) to my bear cubs, the woman at the table next to me leaned over.
“Is your third a boy too?”
(First time I’ve been asked that question in the last nine months…not.) “Yes ma’am it is!”
The woman sighed longingly, and I turned towards her in surprise.
“I wish I’d had the courage to do what you’re doing,” she murmured. Then she pointed to her own bear cubs across the table from her. They were 9 and 7 and from the back of their bleach blonde heads you’d almost mistake them for twins. “My boys are 20 months apart, and they are they very BEST of friends. Utterly inseparable. We had talked about having a third close in age but my husband and I both chickened out. Now I wish we’d been braver.,,,you’re never going to regret this new little brother!”
Early last week the kids and I ran an errand to a Pack N’ Ship store just down the road from our home. As we were waiting in line, a middle aged woman walked in behind us.
Within seconds she was next to me: “Is your third baby going to be a boy too?” (Toldya!)
“Yes ma’am it is!”
“That is WONDERFUL!” the woman exclaimed. Then she went on to explain that she had given birth to three boys very close in age. “They are now all in their 20’s and you should just SEE them!” she said with a sparkle in her eyes and such pride in her voice. “They are tall and handsome and successful and the BEST of friends.”
Then the woman started telling me about some of the things I have to look forward to. “Honey JUST WAIT until they’re all teenagers. The conversations at the dinner table are going to be hilarious!”
As I was getting ready to leave with my crazy toddlers who had run around the Pack N Ship store the entire time I’d been there, she leaned in again. “I know it’s hard right now. Three that close in age – it’s a lot of work when they are young. Just remember it’s worth it.”
And then almost as a whisper to herself she said: “If I could, I’d do it all over again in a heart beat.”
Three in Three
I must admit there have been MANY times in the last few days and weeks when I’ve nearly panicked at the thought of having three boys in three years. Roaming thoughts like “What the heck were we thinking?” and “I’m not strong enough to handle this!” hit me – usually in the middle of the night when I’m up with pre-labor contractions and thinking about the new baby stage of constant feedings, baby wearing, up so much of the night…and then reminding myself I’ll still have my two toddlers to keep up with all day long. I worry I won’t have the energy to manage. I worry that I’ll fail them somehow and we’ll all be miserable ever after.
And then God sends strangers like these two women into my life – to share their regrets and their happiness. Women who remind me that YES – I’m in for a section of rocky, difficult road on my life journey these next few years. I’ll have babies and toddlers with no “big kids” to help me around the house. I’ll have tantrums and boys who won’t stay in their beds at bedtime and babies who cry through the night. I’ll be sleep deprived. I’ll drink too much coffee and too much wine.
But years from now, I’ll have three strapping boys around my kitchen table. Boys who will become men of valor and virtue, thanks to the example of their Father. Boys who will love each other and depend on each other as friends and confidants. Boys who I hope and pray will become men who make a difference in the world.
And when this crazy toddler stage is over and I survive it – and I know that in the end I will – I too will be able to say…
“If I could do it all over again, I would!”