I was surprised with my first pregnancy in college and gave birth to my son, Keyan, when I was 20 years old. My journey into parenthood was further cemented when I had my son, Jakob, nearly four years later, and my son, Gavin 22 months after that.
It was years filled with sleepless nights, not enough “me time,” and very few date nights. But through it all, I remember having an appreciation of my three crazy boys’ daily antics and their pure delight of life. Looking back now, those years are a complete blur!
Almost eight years later, my husband and I had just moved into a new house and were experiencing a honey-moon stage of our relationship. We were also enjoying sleeping in on the weekends and leaving the house frequently without little ones clinging to us or sometimes even noticing that we had left. Life was peaceful and I felt a little more like my pre-child self because my boys were so independent. Finally!
So of course my crazy husband and I thought it was the perfect time to shake things up again and have another child. Maybe this time we would even celebrate a little girl. Additionally, we thought, surely now that we are older we will have more patience with a little one. (Ha, Ha! We sure found out that isn’t true!) Our beautiful daughter, Brooklynn, blessed us in 2012.
The common questions people ask when they hear about the age difference are usually, “Was she a surprise?” or “Why were you crazy enough to do that?” Some hectic days, I cannot honestly vouch for our mental capacity, but I’m glad about our decision.
First, it was a great Home Economics lesson for our three boys. They know all about losing sleep, diaper changes, and the crazy mood swings of a toddler. I hope this will help them in caring for their own children one day. It might also convince them not to become a parent too early in life.
Second, I always longed for a girl to help mellow out the testosterone level around here! She understands me in a way my three boys never could. She loves to accessorize and to imitate her mama. Don’t get me wrong, though. She can belch with the best of them thanks to the male influences in her life.
Third, my son Jakob expressed it best when we said that having Brooklynn around is “refreshing.” Our spirited girl adds a new source of life to our house. We are constantly laughing at the precious things she says and does. She gives my sons permission to play and to be silly in ways they probably wouldn’t if they were concerned with appearing cool.
The holidays are more special, too, with a little one around. And she definitely makes the holidays more fun for me! This Christmas I had to bribe Jakob and Gavin to go to the mountains with their un-cool parents to cut down a tree. Then I had to practically use emotional blackmail to convince each one to hold an ornament next to the tree for a quick photo. (This makes it look like they loved decorating the tree with me.) My 19-year-old son, who lives at home with us, didn’t even notice the new 10 foot Christmas tree. Then, he merely grunted at me when I excitedly pointed it out to him.
Meanwhile, my sweet girl helped me every step of the way. From carrying the boxes up the stairs, to unpacking all of them, she was by my side. Then she tried to set a new world record of how many ornaments could hang on one branch. (More than I ever believed could.) Now the daily game we play is where in the world is Baby Jesus from the nativity set? Usually he is playing with the barn animals in our Little People Farm but occasionally he can be found hanging with the dinosaurs and our extended assortment of Christmas stuffed animals.
Parenthood with a Little One Is… Fun!
Life is never boring with Brooklynn! Parenthood with a teenager, let alone three, can be discouraging. But our little girl reminds me of how fun life can be. I joke around that every parent of a teenager needs a preschooler in their life, too.
Teenagers are often full of angst, sarcasm, and sometimes outright boredom with everything in life. Meanwhile, my preschooler is brimming with positivity, excitement and awe. It is a great way to balance the scales. Plus I am rewarded by the elusive teenage smile from my boys daily because they love to be with their sister.
It may have been a crazy choice to have another one, but I’m so glad we did!