Friday, August 01, 2008

When is enough, enough?

With all appropriate credit to Dickens, I have to say that this year has been both the best of times and the worst.

Yes. Definitely the best. Two delightful, clever children are like hundred-watt incandescent bulbs of joy. Worst? Yes. Definitely the worst. Two needy, novelty-requiring children are like twenty-pound ankleweights on the mind and body, especially when one doesn't sleep. Throw in the ever-increasing career pressures and all the other everyday stressors and...well, yes. Worst, too. Where life used to be fairly placid, even-keeled, with a generally contented bent--aside from infertility--it is now a series of leaps and crashes, constant swings.

I'm finding that those highs--those sweet, sweet highs--have a sort of addictive hold on me. I long for them bodily. When Josh tucks his soft head in the crook of my neck, I am suffused with joy and a powerful longing, and a desire to cry. It is moving too fast. He is getting so big. And I start to think that we should try for one more, just one more. One more soft, small baby. One more child. And then I think, Am I fucking nuts? I am barely holding on now. Jeff is barely holding on now. If life doesn't get easier for us soon, it may affect our relationship permanently. The strain is already palpable: we're quick to irritation and wholly wrapped up in things other than each other. There is a division of hearts and minds in correlation to the necessary division of labor.

But there is something so pleasing in the notion of three. It seems...abundant. Full. Rich. Also, marginally insane and possibly greedy.

I have not gone daft; at least, not wholly, and not yet. (Feel free to disagree.) I know full well that now is not--NOT--the time for another baby. I also know that I'll be 39 next month and am, Joshua's easy conception notwithstanding, infertile. My eggs--poor at 35--have not bested Ponce de Leon and found the Fountain of Youth. If there is to be any chance of a third, we can't wait for peace to reign in our household and our children to become self-sufficient before we commence the attempt.

So: we cannot try now. I know that. And perhaps, if Josh starts sleeping through the night and Olivia finishes the miserabloe months-long potty training odyssey we were fool enough to embark upon, and we start getting sleep and some orts of free time, we will find that we really, really love it and don't want to mess with our stability for anything. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll feel so good about our relatively calm and stable life together that we think, what the heck, let's make the attempt. What's one more?

I don't know. I just don't know. I guess I figured I would instinctively know when we were done. I don't.

If you've been there, did you? Did you know when you had finished building your family? Was it clear?