Although with Jack, it seems even doubly the case. When our first was born, her initial year was filled with long days at home, the two of us navigating territory altogether unfamiliar as I became a mom and stay at home wife for the first time.
You remember those days, when it seems as if an eternity, a lifetime has passed and it's not even eleven in the morning yet. It seems impossible that you will get through the rest of the day without dying of the sameness. You're convinced your husband will come home and find you in a puddle on the kitchen floor, eyes glazed, PBS tinkling in the background. We've all had those days, no?
Jack has spent a large portion of his first year in the car. With siblings that have gymnastics, dance, swimming, Girl Scouts, school and music lessons throughout the year, I'm certain if he ever becomes a painter, his first images will be still lifes of Ford upholstery. The days, they now fly by so quickly, weeks seem to peel away like a morning once did. I relish the lazy summer day at home with my children now more than ever, and I welcome the occasional long day with nothing on the agenda.
Jack has completed our family, filled space in our hearts, and brought such joy to us and to others it is truly incomprehensible to imagine our family, my life, without him. I love each clue he gives us into his being, what kind of person he is unfolding slowly to us as he learns something new. He is slow to walk, shows no interest really. He sits and he stands, but is content to be carried, to be loved on and talked to. This would have terrified me as a young mom, but I'm pretty sure he'll walk eventually. First grade will come and he'll be talking. I'm not worried. Jack smiles in a way that is a salve to a frustrating moment or a bad day. He laughs and the whole family laughs with him. It's fair to say he has us mesmerized. I can yell for the kids to come to dinner or to do something, and child deafness ensues, their ability to tune me out is frequent and unnerving. Jack will laugh and they all stop what they're doing to echo his giggle, to try and coax another one out.
When I carried him through pregnancy, I was asked many things. But more than a few asked Bob or me this question, and it baffles me, the way people just say things without thinking. Four children? Are you done yet? Or variations on the theme. Our answers also varied. Sometimes I stole a line from Cheaper by the Dozen and told the interrogator that I just couldn't keep Bob off of me, so who knew how many we'd have. Or we'd tell them that only Jesus knew when we'd be done. Or we'd ask them how we could know if we were done or not, since we missed that class in seventh grade.
If we had decided that we were done before having Jack, our lives wouldn't be what they are today.
I have family in town, here to celebrate the completeness of our family, of a year passed for a baby boy who struggled so hard to come into this world. I need to go ready us for the day, and go kiss the head of Jack and thank him for choosing us. For deciding that we weren't done yet.