With each of my four kids I have had a moment in time prior to meeting them when the reality of the parenting journey I was about to embark on hit me square in the face. With my oldest daughter it was the night before I was admitted into the hospital for an induction. She was just nearly two weeks late, and was showing no signs of coming out EVER. As I was falling asleep I was admiring my HUGE belly when it suddenly dawned on me…this huge belly actually contained a human that was going to have to come out…of where?!?! I had taken all the classes, and read all the books, but it wasn’t until that moment the true reality of the work and pain I was about to endure become real to me. Needless to say, I got very little sleep that night.
With my second pregnancy that moment came in the midst of a knock down drag out fight with my oldest (by then just nearly three). We had gone round after round that day, and the situation devolved into her being locked in her room behind a baby gate. Once she determined that she couldn’t stack toys up tall enough to scale the baby gate the said toys (and everything else she could get her little hands on ) came catapulting over the gate into the hall way. As if this wasn’t enough the screaming, stomping, and door slamming would rival any gorilla on a rampage. I was sitting in the hall way just around the corner out of sight. I was a puddle on the floor crying as I had reached my limit when I realized that in about six weeks I’d be dealing with this little tyrant, AND nursing, washing, changing a new born all on about 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep. I remember sitting there seriously reconsidering the thought process of purposefully having another child.
I must have forgotten those moments as I happily decided to get pregnant a third time. I was carpooling to Vacation Bible School with a friend of mine who had a baby. One morning I found myself holding her baby on my hip, carrying the stroller and a diaper bag, and trying to corral my other two into the church building. Now, if you’ve ever tried to get more than one young child to do anything just through verbal commands you know it is similar to herding cats. I was standing there with my foot propping the door open trying to balance everything while screaming things like “Get out of the parking lot!” “Don’t touch the tires!” “ Get that out of your mouth!” It was then that I realized that this would soon be my everyday reality with three children under the age of 6. Again I wondered if I should make a phone call to the men with little white jackets for evaluation.
Well after three kids my husband and I (and frankly my endocrinologist) decided we were done being pregnant, and done with infants. However once again we seemed to forget the difficult moments, and decided we needed just one more child. In about two weeks my husband and I will be traveling to China to finalize the adoption of our little boy (5). Although I have not been pregnant with this child, we have been completing mass quantities of paper work, planning for, loving, and praying for him for nearly a year. The reality that I was about to be the mother of four hit while I was at back to school night for my oldest daughter. I was watching parents lug large boxes of school supplies into the building with two, three, or more children lagging behind them. It suddenly hit me that eventually I will have FOUR sets of school supplies to not only buy, but schlep to the school. Now, you haven’t fully lived until you’ve experienced school supply shopping. It was such an eye opening experience that it inspired this blog post. Anyway, watching parents make multiple trips to and from their car made me realize that I have no earthly idea how I am going to get school supplies for four kids from the store to the house and then to the school while using the bus. The good news is that I am confident that it will all work out. It always does, and despite the not so hallmark moments of parenting that I’ve had ( and will surely continue to have) I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so happy and blessed to be the mother of my four cheeky little monkeys.