Lorelei is going to officially be two in two days. We've been calling her two years old for the last two weeks and she had her birthday party on Saturday. This blows my mind. How can she be two already? Really? It seems like she was just born. Of course, it also seems like she has always been this tiny, capable and independent person--which of course, she hasn't.
With her extremely impending two year birthday, also comes the TALK. You know the talk...the one about Baby Number Two. I have always wanted two kids. Always. I was an only child and I always wanted a brother or sister, even while I had tons of friends and loving cousins. It would be nice to have someone else who knows our stories, someone to complain about our parents to (sorry, mom and dad. I love you!), someone who was always there. I'm sure a large part of this is due to watching my cousins together, and watching Brian and his sisters. I KNOW their relationships weren't always this way, and that there was fighting and arguments. But I'm looking at the big picture. The thing I always think about is that, well, people grow up and apart. No matter how close you are to your cousins, eventually you all grow up and get married and have families and family obligations and work obligations and you suddenly realize you haven't seen them in over a year, even though they only live two hours away. With siblings, well, you ARE the family obligations! And, as I've seen over the past few years as Brian's grandparents have passed away, parents die. And what struck me most was the way Brian's family came together for support. It wasn't always pretty and nice, but they were there for each other...especially in the time leading up to their deaths. I'm terrified of what will happen when that happens to my parents. I don't have any siblings to fall back and lean on, share the challenges with. It comes down to me. And I know I have Brian and his family and my family and cousins, but it isn't the same.
Brian only wants one. Not that he doesn't love his sisters and the experiences they had. But he's looking at the big picture, too. Just a different big picture. The one that thinks about health insurance for a family of four, college tuition for two kids and (since we could very likely have two girls) the thought of prom dresses and weddings for two daughters. He also is thinking of the opportunities we could give one child. The places we could go, the experiences we could have. And I understand that. By the time I was thirteen years old, I had been to more places than most adults I knew. I had hiked to waterfalls in Kauai, seen the volcanoes of Hawaii, explored ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico and learned how to scuba dive in Bonaire.
Tonight, as I was making dinner, I asked Lorelei if she wanted to play with her new easel. She smiled, said "yes! Chalk!" and we walked downstairs together. I got her settled down there, then came back upstairs to finish dinner. I closed the door to the downstairs bathroom and media room and let Brian know she was down there (he was in his office). Periodically, I walked down to check on her. She was playing with her magnadoodle, coloring at her activity table and drawing on her chalkboard. Perfectly happy. After days spent negotiating sharing and kind words between kindergarteners, which will tend to involve tears, screaming, tattling and walking along the fine line of redirection, the happy, contented silence was a relief. Now she isn't always like this. There are lots of tears and melt downs and demands to watch Elmo and Big Bird. But right now, at this moment, it just seemed so EASY. And I had the thought "Do I really want to rock this boat?"
With the work I do, I've seen a lot of siblings. I know that even though Lorelei seems so mellow and easygoing, that doesn't mean that my next child will be that way. In fact, I've seen a lot of siblings that are the polar opposites of each other! I've also seen a lot of amazing relationships between siblings.
Then I thought about the things we love to do: getting out and exploring nature, going out for lunch or dinner, exploring San Francisco, even just going to the zoo. Going out to eat with Lorelei has gotten increasingly challenging as she's gotten older. What is that going to be like with two kids? Running after Lorelei at the park or zoo is fun, but I can't run in two directions! I like to think that Lorelei will grow up as one of the "City Kids," kids who are comfortable and safe walking around and experiencing San Francisco--who will have gone to the San Francisco Zoo summer camp, will know exactly where to run to see the coolest exhibits at the Exploratorium and will have her favorite tea sandwich at Lovejoy's. Can I do that with two kids? Probably. Is it daunting? Absolutely.
So to answer that question that I've already been asked "Are you going to have a second?" The answer is...I don't know. But I do think I'll be spending a large part of this next year contemplating it, discussing it with Brian. I do know that I don't want to be storing baby swings, and boxes of baby clothes indefinitely, you know, just in case.