"Four seems like a good number," he says to me. Glass of wine on the edge of the coffee table. The three girls are asleep and we're getting ready to watch a television show on his laptop.
I kick and scream inside. I'm done. D-O-N-E. But my verbal response is sincere too, "Yes. Four seems nice."
Then, I lean in and remind him what he already knows - Wouldn't it be nice to never have to experience morning sickness again, to not have to fret about the baby's health, to not have to go through the agonizing trial of labor and the subsequent pain of breastfeeding? We could travel again. We could move mountains. We could do this and that and everything people do when their babies grow up.
I could write uninterrupted and get that PhD. We could sleep through the night and everyone could feed themselves breakfast.
We look at little Audrey with a certain amount of wonder. She captivates us with her never disappearing smile, her emerging personality that sparkles over our shoulders. As our dear friend Germaine stated, "she's not a good baby to quit on."
Down somewhere in our stomachs, we know that our babies, our children...THIS is what life is really about. We also acknowledge that, with each new baby, we are better parents and better people with broader perspectives. More competent in relating to the world and making it more beautiful. Could it be that there is a sweetness about the sacrifices of young parenting that we don't fully grasp? Could it be that our children are actually propelling us to the best possible future? Could it be that another wonderful child is meant to sit 'round our wooden kitchen table?
The next day, I swing by my friend Dayna's house and she asks if I want my maternity jeans back.
"Sure, I'll take them," I say, trembling in my throat. "I can always pass them on to a friend if I don't need them." Three is a good number too, after all.