I (we) could have more kids. Technically. But the door is closing, almost shut.
And I am mostly okay with that. I know how lucky I am. And I love being Mom to two incredible sons. But lately I’ve had an intermittent pang, a feeling that was missing a few years back, when decisions about two or three were more plausible.
So when my sister asked if her 3 year old daughter, Rayme, could come hang out for February vacation while she attended an out-of-state wedding, my response was simple and swift, “Yes!”
The first thing I noticed upon Rayme's arrival was how absolutely wonderful it was to have a girl in the house.
Day one we got manicures. What else does a girl deprived aunt do?
She sat on my lap while my nails were being painted asking, “Auntie Olly does it hurt?”
“No, tickles,” I said, five maybe ten times. When it was her turn, my normally verbose energetic niece sat statue-still speechless.
But she was proud as purple punch when she joined me at the nail drying station. “My Mommy’s favorite color is purple,” she said. She had, of course, chosen purple for her nails.
“Do you know who your Mom is?” I asked.
“My mommy,” she said.
“She’s my little sister,” I said.
“She’s not little,” Ray said, in a you are a silly goose tone.
Almost immediately we settled into a routine and I quickly discovered something that my friends with many kids already know.
It’s much easier to have a little one around, when you have a bigger little one to help.
My oldest is a natural caretaker who found his new “responsibility” liberating in a I just turned 10 kind of way. John made Ray’s breakfast, helped brush her teeth, even DVRed the latest episodes of My Little Pony.
He was so involved that on day three he asked, “Do you think she’ll take a nap today?”
“Why?” I asked. The truth was the no nap approach was boding well for a workable bed time, why mess with success?
“I just need one hour to myself,” John said.
My smile was uncontainable.
The next day we were mostly out and about. As I scooped our little bundle out of her car seat to retrieve my youngest son and his friends from baseball camp, she covered her nose and said, “Auntie Olly you forgot to brush your teeth!”
I was two cups of coffee in and apparently my breath wasn’t smelling so good.
An hour later after we’d dropped a car full of boys off at their respective homes, and had lunch with a friend, she asked, “Are there any more boys in the trunk?”
She brought such smiles to us the entire stay. So much so that when it was time for my sister to return, I found myself wishing for a cataclysmic snowstorm, in hopes of just a few more days.
No such luck. As quick as our pinky purple whirlwind arrived, she departed.
Years ago a friend made an astute observation about how difficult it is to decide what the right number is, when it comes to having kids.
“Two isn’t enough but three is too many,” she said. We had a good laugh.
Having our little Ray of sunshine around made me realize I may have found the answer, to the how many riddle.
Two is enough, but two and a half is just perfect.