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Archive for July 12th, 2009

Bonus Baby

I have never been one for a surprise but three years ago I was given one of the biggest surprises of my life.  TenWilmington vacation 2008 033 years after my second child was born, we were blessed with a bonus baby. Blessing was not the first word to come to my mind when I discovered I was pregnant but I have come to see that there are some very real benefits to having such a large gap between children.  There are the built in babysitters and the fact that my husband and I are not only older and wiser but also more financially stable than we were when our first two children were born.  There are also benefits we could never have guessed.

With the first two children, there was a constant guilt.  If I gave in to letting them sleep in our bed, have an extra snuggle before heading off to bed or skip a bath, I worried about breaking the “mommy rules.”  I would never admit these indiscretions to other mommies for fear they would ridicule me.  This time I don’t care.  There is no guilt because I know this is the last time a little guy will crawl into my bed.  I remember the last time that happened with my older children and I know now that I couldn’t pay them enough for a goodnight snuggle.  So, I feel no guilt at all for giving in and breaking these rules this time around.  I cherish the moments because I know just how fleeting they are.

My bonus baby keeps me young.  People told me this would happen but I thought it was just a way to console me in the loss of freedom I had just started to gain.  I was wrong. He really does keep me young.  Without this three year old boy in my house, I wouldn’t be reading Good Night Moon, watching Toy Story or running through the sprinkler in my front yard.  I wouldn’t be crawling under a swing set, pushing a dump truck, or pretending to be pushed into the pool.  He makes me laugh a hundred times a day and that makes me feel young again.

Having this gap between children has also given me friends I would not have made any other way.  These are women who were outside the circle I had created over the years.  They are younger and less experienced but they are fun and supportive and our children give us something in common.  As I have gotten, older, some of my couple friends divorce, or moved away.  Many of my friends have  gone back to work.  And my circle of friends had begun to dwindle.  But Zane has given me a whole new source of friendships and for this I am grateful.

On a lighter note, he has given me a revenge I didn’t expect to get for fifteen years or more.  My older children don’t have to wait until they have their own children to see exactly how hard it is to be a parent.  They get the benefit of having Zane’s refusal to go to bed interrupt all of our dinners and his temper tantrums embarrass them in public places.  And I get the benefit of seeing it happen.  When they are older, they may be able to hide their children’s indiscretions from me.  They could tell me they don’t know what I had complained about as they were growing up but now, they get to experience it right along side me and my husband.

I admit there are things that make having a baby at forty difficult.  The late night feedings were harder, my patience with watching Blue’s Clues or listening to Wee Sing Silly Songs for the hundredth time runs a little thinner than it did the first time around and I really could have done without the two years of diaper changing.  But the benefits, especially the ones that came as a surprise, far outweigh the hardships.  And now I can admit that not only is he a bonus but, he is also a blessing.

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