February 14 11

It was a lovely night. My husband’s 36th birthday. We found a brand-new teenaged babysitter who not only lives close by, but seems to be eager to sit for us again AND all three of my children loved her. My mother was in town; my inlaws were joining us. I ate a burger the size of a small baby that was topped with, among other things, a giant onion ring. We listened to the Ricky Gervais podcast in the car on the way home. Everything was aces until we walked in the door and my mom says, “Where is my purse?”

And I just knew where this was going. I knew we’d be spending the rest of the evening filing police reports in both Toronto and Vaughan. I knew we’d be calling the restaurant. I knew we’d be checking neighboring garbage cans in case somebody grabbed the cash and dumped the rest of the goods, which included important things like my mom’s phone and HER PASSPORT. I knew we’d be googling “How to get into the US without a passport?” I knew I’d be listening to my husband making lost passport jokes. And then making some more.

And then, just as we’d given up. The restaurant called us. They had found my mom’s PASSPORT in the street. Sure, it was covered in some snowy tire tracks, but it was there, and it was missing nothing.

Wednesday night restored my faith in the good of people in our fair city. Even though I hate the weather and snow and having to buy giant parkas and waterproof boots and there are no Targets here. Or any sort of suitable form of online shopping. And my kids won’t learn proper American history. And I have to get on an airplane to visit any of my family members. Even with all of these obvious Toronto flaws…This is my city.

And I’m okay with it.

On Saturday, I spent the day in my green and blue plaid flannel pj pants and a hoodie. I curled up on my couch with a cozy blanket and read Olive Kitteridge from cover to cover. This restored my faith in our decision to, ahem, take some steps to make sure we don’t have any more babies. I will admit it, the idea of not having any more babies was enticing to me. I mean, we have three perfect children who keep me equally poor and busy. So, there it was. I was done. My insides would become a rocky place where no seed would find purchase. But, often when faced with this idea of permanence, you – or at least I – start to think that maybepossiblyperhaps you are making this decision too hastily and maybe you should be making another baby. Just one more. I’m still young. I mean, I’m only 32. I loved being pregnant; I never had to take a single TUMS. I love the way babies smell, I love to smush them. But as I sat with my body nestled into my couch and turned page after page, completely uninterrupted, I thought about how THIS is what I have been waiting for.

Just a few more years, I’d say.

Just a few more years and Emily will be 10 and Josh will be 8 and Isabella will be 5. Five. It’s a magic age. They’ll be able to play on their own. They will possibly play WITH EACH OTHER. They will be able to read, to dress themselves, to wipe their own butts, to pour their own drinks.

Just a few more years and I’ll be able to spend Saturday afternoons on the couch doing something that’s just for me.

We had 3 kids in less than 5 years on purpose. We had 3 kids before I was 28 on purpose. The baby years were hard. We didn’t sleep much, we didn’t sit much, we didn’t go out much. We are there now; we are past the baby years. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the years now are just as challenging. But it’s emotional, not physical.

We are there now. Olive Kitteridge. Pjs. Couch.

We are done.

And I’m okay with it.

  1. Oh GLORY BE, woman! I’ve moved from maximum- to minimum-security baby prison, now that my smallest is three… I’m quite done too. I feel myself unfurling again, after these years of being “in.” I feel like I might actually be able to read books again (you know what I mean) and do other things besides wiping counters and faces and bums. Slowly, slowly… good for you two!!


    Comment by Grumble Girl on February 14, 2011
  2. I also have three under five, and while I’ve always wanted a fourth, that dream is slowly but surely being ground into dust. I’ve been contemplating having my husband get the big snip…not quite ready to shut that door…but I’m giving it serious thought. I would really like to read a book in peace too :-)


    Comment by Lisa on February 14, 2011
  3. Her purse was taken but her passport was thrown in the street? Strange….
    Glad she got that back though!


    Comment by Sarah on February 14, 2011
  4. Ha! Sarah..no! They found her entire purse in the street. It must have fallen out when she got out of the car to go to the restaurant.


    Comment by ali on February 14, 2011
  5. I like to space mine out a bit (my oldest is 10 in July), and I’m having my third sometime in the next two months, before I turn 28 in three months (which frightens me).

    I love the baby years, but maybe that’s because I had them so far apart (my first two were 6 years apart) and had only ONE baby at home while the other child was at school. It was “easy” (you know, as easy as ONE baby can be).

    We’ve talked about being done and doing something permanent, but how do you tell when you’re done? Unlike you, I really don’t like being pregnant and I nearly overdose on Tums every day. But, I LOVE the newborn stage more than anything. I wish it would last longer.

    Awesome your mom got her purse back!!!!!


    Comment by Mrs. Wilson on February 14, 2011
  6. ok good … I thought it was just her passport!! phew!


    Comment by Sarah on February 14, 2011
  7. Oh how this blog gives me hope.. I have a three year old and a three month old. Enough said! Glad your mom found her purse and happy birthday to your husband :)


    Comment by colour of water on February 15, 2011
  8. We felt an enormous sense of freedom when our littlest was finally able to go down the stairs safely on her own. Now, if only she’d wipe her own bum, we’d be golden.

    And yes, sometimes Toronto still is, The Good. Welcome home.


    Comment by karengreeners on February 15, 2011
  9. I’m so happy she got her passport back.

    I think I’m 10 years behind you. My fiancé is the same age as your husband and I’m your age. Maybe we’ll have 3 kids in 5 years? Maybe not. I don’t think that 4 is part of my dreams and I would be okay with 2. Whatever it will be, I look forward to it!


    Comment by Heather on February 15, 2011
  10. I’m right there with you, as you know, and I’m loving every minute of it. :)


    Comment by Angella on February 16, 2011

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