Cheryl and I are expecting our third child in a few weeks. As our friends and acquaintances learned of the news the most common response is "were you surprised?" The short answer is "yes", but not for the reasons everyone assumes. Cheryl and I are both in our 40's, and our other two children are 13 and 9. I can see where people would draw the conclusion that we were done having kids 9 years ago. We thought we were done too. I remember those first few years with Jason, where it seems like adding the second kid tripled the amount of work. At the time, Cheryl and I were firmly in the "no more" camp.
But as kids grow older they start becoming more independent, and it is important to let go a little bit. It's a gradual process, but we are already seeing it happen with Jessica. Some people look forward to that process - perhaps there are things that they put on hold for many years while raising kids, and they are anxious to get to that next stage of their lives. But Cheryl and I aren't like that. Neither of us is looking forward to the empty nest and about two years ago we realized that we wanted to start over again. In an ideal universe, perhaps we would have waited until both kids have moved out before starting the next round. But there are the realities of age to consider. In fact, it already felt like we had waited too long. Cheryl was pregnant early last year, but it ended in a messy miscarriage. That was very rough on her, and I wasn't sure she would want to try again. I also started to think our chances of success were pretty low. I was kicking myself for waiting so long, and trying to let go of the expectation of having another child.
But Cheryl got pregnant again and we started counting the weeks. After the previous disappointment we hardly dared to get excited about it. I kept dreading each OB appointment... fearful of bad news. But the weeks went by without incident. The baby was growing and doing fine. I think after passing the 12 week mark we started telling people (after keeping everything secret for about 15 months we were practically bursting). And that's when we started hearing "were you surprised?" Yes, I was surprised. I was surprised that after wanting and worrying for so long that we're finally so close to having another baby. And I am still surprised. I am surprised that we are not too old. I am surprised by how enthusiastic Jessica and Jason are about having a baby brother. I am surprised at how much this one thing makes me feel younger and more alive.
The un-phonetic alphabet
8 years ago