My grandpa passed away last week after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. (Today would have been his 89th birthday.) When I finally got a chance to talk with Grandma at the visitation, the first thing she said to me was, “Now tell me the truth, Monica. Are you happy about this baby?” It made me smile, especially after she told me that the idea of her youngest child took some ‘getting used to.’
We've actually gotten some comments that leaned to the offensive side, but most of what our acquaintances have said made me laugh. I’d be more offended if I didn’t understand their viewpoints. I get it. It’s unusual to have a kid when you’re our age, unless you’re newly married, or have been trying for a long time, or are just now getting around to having kids.We're none of those things.
I understand the shock of it all. Some of the comments we got when we went public with the news of Goblin’s pregnancy were funny. I think “Holy SHIT, Monica, are you crazy?!!” was my favorite. But “You do realize by now how this happens, right?” was a close second. Yeah, we kind of figured that out.
The thought has been bouncing around in my mind for a few years now. Perhaps it’s because Bumblebee is growing up so quickly. Or that Hollywood and The Boy are both in high school, preparing to leave the nest. The Husband’s family has had a veritable baby boom recently (five babies in the past 3 years) and that only awakened the sleeping tiger inside me that is baby fever. Last fall, my step mom passed away. While MJ’s time ended and Dad’s future became complicated and uncertain, my brothers and sisters-in-law gathered together and faced that awful situation head on. We had each other to lean on, to share the burden of what was not a pleasant experience. We found time to laugh, bitched about things that annoyed us, and bonded in our close but not touchy-feely way. When I thought about how grateful I am for the gift of my family, the tiger woke from a fitful sleep, stretched out its muscular body, and let out a roar.
I want my own kids to have that some day. Sure, the dynamics will be different. Hollywood will be 18 years older than Goblin, so their relationship will probably not fully develop until later in life. Who knows, I could be in a nursing home, completely off my rocker by then. But still, they will have each other.
People have had other questions about having another child when we already have three, spaced 10 years apart. Some people might wonder why I don’t pursue my career more vigorously at this stage in my life. I’ve done quite well with it so far, moving into a position last year that secured me an ‘officer’ title. Having an AVP in my title is pretty cool, I won’t lie. I’m proud of my career, and for the most part, I enjoy what I do, and I’m good at it. So one might wonder why I’m choosing to delay further ascension up that corporate ladder by having another baby. I guess my answer to that is simply that work is not my life. I do my best to make sure that I’m happy enough in my current position to maintain a healthy home/life balance, but I work to live, I don’t live to work. When I retire in 25 years, I doubt I’ll regret the decision to have Goblin instead of powering ahead for an executive vice president position.
Other folks have asked me if I’m a glutton for punishment because I try to make it to most of my kids’ games, concerts, events, and activities. They ask, “don’t you want your own life?” To that I say, “This is my life.” Now don’t get me wrong, I do things for myself too. I play bunko with the neighbor ladies and go to book club monthly, and I try to have the occasional social event with my girlfriends from time to time… The Husband and I have been good about scheduling at least a long weekend away together each year, in order to reconnect with each other outside of our frenetic home life. But I have to tell you, that the softball games, and the football practices, the show choir performances, and so on, are social in themselves. I talk with the parents of kids who are on the teams, we become fast friends, at least for the duration of that particular event’s season.
My manager asked me how I would handle having another kid with all of these things going on. I can see her point – The Husband is often gone for these events, so I’m there with a kid or two in tow. It’s not easy, but babies are portable, and I think the enjoyment you get from having a child outweighs the burden of having to tote them everywhere when they’re little. Bumblebee was carted to the older two kids’ activities from the time she was an infant. She’s used to it, and is a fairly adaptable kid.
Others wonder how I can bear to deal with the sleepless nights that a newborn brings. I think of what awaits me this fall: I will be so sleep deprived that I’ll put the cell phone away in the refrigerator. I’ll have bags under my eyes, and my body will be too chubby to fit into anything other than sweatpants. My hair will fall out by the handful. But that won’t matter much, because I won’t find the time to shower for days and I won’t do anything other than a ponytail to my hair. My time will be spent feeding Goblin and watching The Husband and our older children interact with their new brother or sister. I’ll explore tiny hands, stroke a sweet-scented, silky head, and I’ll rarely put that kid down until s/he’s a month old.
I honestly couldn’t be more excited for that if I tried. We are blessed, The Husband and I. And why not go for one last blessing while we still can?