I was from a family of four. It was just my parents, my older brother and me.
I don't recall ever wishing for a bigger family.
I think I understood that I was a bit of a princess and that more kids would endanger the sweet little set up I had going as the unrivalled baby of the family.
Then when I was a teenager, my parents split and by the time they had each re-partnered, I had eight (count them, 8!) step brothers and sisters.
Of course, there was the initial resistance to my new reality but that passed soon enough and I fell in love with the chaos of a big family. Family dinners, for instance, were insane. Loud occasions jammed full of laughing and bickering and a history shared. I knew I wanted something like that for my own family some day.
Bren also came from a family of two children. He recalls desperately wanting a sister. I think it was to learn invaluable tips about chicks.
When I met him, he was very overwhelmed by the craziness of a family get-together with my people. But like me, it did not take him long to fall in love with the madness. How can you not? My people very swiftly became his people. This is what my family is like – we envelope all and sundry into our fold.
And now, we are about to put the finishing touches on our own version of a big family. Some would say three children hardly constitutes big and we originally thought about four. Now? We're pretty sure 3 is the magic number.
I know that when I finally have all three of our precious creatures in one room together, I am going to lose my tiny mind. There will be tears.
There are a million reasons why having more than one kid complicates things and the hardest part for me is making sure there is enough of me to go around. Not love, I know my love is infinite and never question having the reserves to love all my kids equally. No, I mean actual, physical ME. I can't be everywhere at once and if the boys want to do different things, I can't split myself in two and accommodate both requests. Naturally, a whole lot of compromise becomes necessary and I understand that this is actually the gift of larger families. Learning to compromise is essential for living in the world.
But still the uneasy tug of war goes on.
So when the opportunity to have one on one time arises, it is always such an unexpected joy for me.
I felt it first when taking Luca to the movies for the first time. It was about a year ago and Zig was still breastfeeding which meant that I was rarely separated from him. So it was with much excitement that Luca and I went to the local cinema – just we two. I remember so vividly his little hand clutching mine as we rode up the escalator together. No pram to juggle, no nappy bag. It felt so….easy. Just me and my big guy on an outing that was just about us. His behaviour was exceptional and I found myself marvelling at this little person, really engaging with him and noticing that my baby had become a boy.
And just two days ago, I had a similar experience with Zig. After dropping Luca off at kinder, Zig and I headed to the library. Afterwards, we sat in a nearby cafe together. It was a warm day and they had homemade ice-cream. Zig sat on my knee, facing me with legs straddled either side of mine and I just watched him eat that entire cone. I taught him about catching the drips, we chatted about the birds singing in a nearby tree. It was only ten minutes or so but it has become one of my most cherished memories. I didn't take my eyes from his face the entire time and he made no move to wriggle away from me. I marvelled at his little face as he chatted away. We just sat with one another and it was perfect.
They don't happen often but one on one time is a most precious gift. Sometimes in the midst of everyday life, we stop really seeing our children. But whenever I do stop and really look, my goodness, they are breathtaking.