Today I became aware that I am totally and completely OK with my family being complete at five kids. Now, I have known since Jesse was still a newborn and I had a DVT that I should and would be done. But for a few years I still had these lingering thoughts about how dangerous would it be- REALLY- for me to have another baby. I could do the daily injections of bloodthinner (which I always knew I couldn't really do because I'm a big fat wimp) or something. I just would get baby hungry. And pregnancy hungry. I love being pregnant. I will never get over the loss I feel at not being able to feel another baby growing and moving inside me. I will never get over the loss I feel at not being able to hold another baby in my arms as I nurse him. But babies grow up. And they become sassy and independent. They delight in pushing Mom's buttons. They go to school and they come home with piles of homework and want your undivided attention and assistance as they plow through it. They can no longer suckle at your breast and instead demand cheese crackers and granola bars-- and lots of 'em. They run around like maniacs rather than cooing contentedly in the bouncy seat. They dump your nail polish on the bathroom floor and use your favorite scarf as the sail of their ship...then leave it in the yard for several rainfalls. They make some sort of pact with their siblings to all demand your attention at the same time using the most obnoxious whiny voices imaginable. Also in their agreement is a schedule they follow to be sure they are not all happy at the same time. They pretend they can't hear you asking them to do something until you are finally screaming at them, then they say, "You don't have to yell at me, Mom!" They break your stuff and create mounds of laundry. More babies would just become more kids.
But they also learn to bathe themselves. They do- eventually- move out of diapers and master using the toilet. They learn to read- to themselves and to their younger siblings. They develop a sense of humor and they eventually learn how to use it. They can play outside without supervision and can even walk home from school. They thank you for making their favorite dessert. They will bring you dead dandelions and present them to you like it's the rarest bloom- with a big smile and a wet kiss. They will sing to you in church on Mother's Day and bring home art projects featuring their handprints. They bring you breakfast in bed and they serve it with dancing eyes full of excitement. They love you despite the yelling and are infinitely forgiving.
And you know? I'm ready. I'm ready to move on from the baby stage. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get into this "raising them" stage. I'm not saying I'm good at it or that I have any idea what I'm doing, but we'll learn and we'll make it. And I really don't think I will wish that I was having more babies. I've got my hands full as it is. I'm good with not having diapers to change and baby swings and bouncers and exersaucers and carriers and jumpers all over the house. No diaper bag to pack and no rushing home from a short date to make it in time for the next feeding.
Let the next chapter begin.