We Should Have Had More Kids, Right?

by Jo on October 10, 2014

The panic washes over me suddenly while I’m in the shower.

We should have had more kids, I think to myself.

“WE SHOULD HAVE HAD MORE KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I scream to my husband, the words piercing through the hot steam, penetrating my heart, echoing through me until they settle in my soul.

There is silence on the other side of the door.

He must sense my biological clock is not behind this.

He must sense he should tread carefully.

“Why?” he finally asks.

A simple question spoken with hesitation, knowing the answer is likely complicated.

“We should have had more kids. For Ian.”

My voice rises a few octaves as visions of my little sister and I engaged in sibling banter flash across my mind. “He’ll never have a sibling to truly confide in. To count on.”

The truth slips out before I can contain it. I turn the shower knob to HOT.

“Shut up,” he says to me. “Don’t say that.”

I wish I hadn’t.

I try to turn the shower knob again, but it won’t go any higher.

I picture my sister. Our hundreds of fights, thousands of hugs, almost daily phone calls laced with laughter and unsolicited advice.

“WE SHOULD HAVE PLANNED BETTER!” I yell out. “HE WON’T HAVE ANYONE TO HELP HIM WITH ANDREW.”

“He’ll have us,” he responds gently, and I picture grey hair and portable potties and assigned caregivers bumping in crowded hallways as they scurry on their way to assist someone somewhere demanding something.

“We did the right thing by not having more,” he says, refraining from outright reminding me about the statistics and the finances and the fears that occupied every conversation we ever had on the matter.

He’s right.

But I don’t tell him so.

Dammit, I wish the water weren’t so cold.

***

We are piled into the car, all four of us, Andrew strapped into the largest car seat we’ve ever laid eyes on.

Mikey calls it The Recliner.

I can’t see shit to the right of me because of it, crossing my fingers every time I have to change lanes.

But it keeps Andrew safe, keeps him comfortable, keeps him from trying to get out of the car while we’re hurtling down the road at 60 mph.

The ride is quiet, my mind still embroiled in a mental tug 0f war about our grave mistake in not having more children. I feel guilty. For all of it. The thoughts, the decisions, the regrets, the what ifs.

Suddenly, Andrew lets out a wild giggle from The Recliner. Ian soon joins him and the quiet car becomes filled with their laughter; loud, ridiculous heaps of hysteria.

I think of my sister; the many years we spent in the backseat of our parents’ car, laughing uncontrollably at something we knew they’d never understand. The kind of conspiring that can only exist between siblings.

I look in my rearview mirror
and all I see is Love. Companionship. Brotherhood. I see a life spent lifting each other up in the ways they know how, even if one is much stronger than the other. I see a relationship I have no right to define by the constricting parameters of my own anxieties and expectations. I see a bond that is unbreakable, one that will only grow stronger with time.

I look in my rearview mirror

and what I see are two boys navigating a relationship that makes sense to them.

Two futures intertwined with one another, in a world that may not get it. And that’s okay.

What I see are two brothers,

and in this very moment,

with their heads thrown back in euphoric joy in the backseat of my station wagon Volvo,

I know that that’s

more than

enough.

 

 

 

 

You are not authorized to see this part
Please, insert a valid App ID, otherwise your plugin won't work correctly.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mom in Two Cultures October 11, 2014 at 5:40 am

This is beautiful and really gets at the constant tension between fear and joy that comes with parenting a kid with special needs his/her sibs.

Reply

alida lane October 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I always love your articles Jo and once again as I’m reading this I’m thinking of my grandchildren. A similar” but different” situation …….one child with special needs and the other typical. A sadness started to come to me as I thought of the typical child and what she will miss……but then you hit the nail on the head…..we have no right to define the parameters of a relationship. There is currently a bond forming between her and her brother that will only get stronger with time. And how much richer and deeper their bond will be as time goes by……and it will be , as you say, more than enough. Thank you for your words….

Reply

małgosia October 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Kochana, ten tekst daje mi dużo do myślenia :-)

Reply

jessica October 19, 2014 at 8:22 pm

every time.
every damn time.
i read your prose and you nail it.
thank you .

Reply

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: