Friday, July 06, 2007

Four Children? Are You Done Yet?


Exactly one year ago today, Jack Thomas came into our lives. One year. I know, it sounds cliche, but the first year of any baby's life always is gone in an eye blink, isn't it?

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.

Today is a Parent Bloggers Blog Blast, asking us to share a "Don't you wish you could have just handed them this?" moment from pregnancy.

31 comments:

Annie said...

I clicked through here from the Blog Blast and your post made me cry.

Being done is also the question I posted about when participating, and it's a pretty raw one for me these days. I just have this feeling deep down that I have my own 'Jack' waiting for me to have him. He's a beautiful baby - here's to a Happy Birthday for him!

mama k said...

What a sweet post!
It does amaze me the things people say to your face.

I wrote about the sleeping through the night thing at www.mamaknj.blogspot.com

Sophie's Mom said...

Happy birthday Jack!

nutmeg said...

Visiting from TopBlogMag and so glad I did! We have a lot in common! I too got funny questions while pregnant with my fourth. My favorite was "Was this an accident?" No, I've pretty much figured out how it happens. And would I tell you if it was? My littlest is about two months behid your jack.

P.S. Ready for the next one?

mayberry said...

I expected snark and I got sweet! Beautiful post and beautiful boy. Happy birthday, Jack!

Nancy said...

Beautifully written ...
"Jack has completed our family"

Happy Birthday Jack!

Brillig said...

Happy Birthday, Jack! He's DARLING!!! And yes, I have four kids too, and after EACH ONE I've had people ask me if I'm done yet. Even though I think I AM, how dare they ask? How is it any of their business???

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

What a beautiful post! I really don't fathom how people ask questions that are really none of their business. The number of children we have is a personal decision!

Daisy said...

Jack looks adorable in the photo! Your family sounds wonderful, whether "finished" or still "growing."

Karianna said...

It is amusing the way perceptions of family size can vary. In some parts, larger families are considered low-class, religious zelots, etc; but in our area, the larger the family, the wealthier!

It is funny how a family of four here is considered more "in" than a family of two.

But regardless of local trends, personal impressions, and the like, it is definitely not okay to question someone else's motives in the way that you've experienced.

Kian said...

Happy Birthday Jack!

Our family has 8 kids total, 7 of whom live here at home. The eldest 3 came with my husband, the next 3 came with me (adopted during my first marriage) and we've had 2 together. So I've become a mom in just about every way that you can.

Our 2 month old was one of those wonderful "surprises", and yes we got a lot of "are you done?" questions and I always just said "who knows?" and gave them the look that suggested they didn't ask further LOL. Our family can't imagine a world without the baby or the 22 month old, everyone adores them and they bring more joy than we thought possible.

So all of that was to say "I hear ya" and I hope you and Jack have a wonderful day today!

Lawyer Mama said...

Happy Birthday, Jack. What a beautiful post to celebrate a beautiful boy.

Tam said...

What a wonderful post that sent chills through me. I so badly want to experience these feelings...

Anna said...

Oh my, what a lovely post, happy birthday to your sweet Jack.

And email on the way to you with address for my Bonnie Bell LIPSMACKER!

Mr. Fabulous said...

What an awesome post! I read it twice, I loved it so much :)

theghelertertwins.blogspot.com said...

Sweetie I've heard them all and my children are adopted. I'm just sorry that I'm not younger and could adopt more. I'm considered too old by many and most countries now. Funny at 46 I don't feel so old. Maybe it's my adorable 2year olds that keep me young.

Happy Birthday beautiful Jack. Your momma loves you....smooch.... Rony

BOSSY said...

Howdy Jack: we're so glad you came.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Happy Birthday Jack! What a lovely, lovely tribute to his first year!

ablondeblogger said...

Awww, this made me cry. I remember being SO sad at each of my children's first birthdays. The time just went by so quickly. No more babies around here. *sniff*

And I abhor those nasty anti-larger family comments!!! UGH!!

ablondeblogger said...

Oh, and happy birthday, Jack!!

Sarah said...

My fourth boy is 9 months old. I got this question... (still do!) All. The. Time. Since I have all boys, I also get the "are you going to try for a girl" question.

Mrs. Incredible said...

What a beautiful baby! I have a little Jack-crush ;)

We are waiting for our fourth, a son, to come home from China and people have definitely been whispering behind the schoolbus that I've lost it. I don't know what to tell them, I just knew there was someone missing!

My MIL says things like, "I don't know how _people_ do it, two was enough for me..."

Robin said...

Happy happy birthday Jack!

What a beautiful post. I'll have to come read it again and again in my apparently never-ending saga of "our we done yet?".

Sunshine said...

People gave us crazy looks when we were pregnant with number 4.

My hubby, who himself was even alarmed at the time, says it the best, "I couldn't imagine one more, but I couldn't imagine one less."

Jen M. said...

Thank you so much everyone - your comments are truly touching. And for new commenters, thanks because now I can read some great new blogs out there. You guys are wonderful!

moosh in indy. said...

Four is nothing, especially when you're for it. You're kids are lucky to have three siblings each, and oh do I hear you on the monotony. Painful painful things the same everyday.

Bon said...

what a gorgeous post. and a gorgeous boy.

Mamma said...

And I thought I had just come to terms with not having a fourth.

Hmmm. You make a compelling argument lady!!

Beautiful babies--all four of them.

Sarah said...

Beautiful!
It seems everyone asks you "when are you having another one?" after the first, but after the second, the question shifts to "Are you done?"
Here's to having more than 2 kids!

a happier girl said...

Very sweet. And you have excellent taste in names for your kids. My 18 month old son is named Jack Thomas too.

Shauna said...

Happy Birthday, Jack!
I admit, I'm guilty of asking the question even though I know some women are offended (I don't ask it of strangers or aquaintences, though). Will stop asking.