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Positive balance

Written by: Rachel Reiff Ellis April 01 2012 As I write this, Luke has the kids at a park across the street and I am sitting in a quiet, cool house with my feet up and a glass of ice water at my side. Sometimes when the forces align in such a way that I...

Written by: Rachel Reiff Ellis

As I write this, Luke has the kids at a park across the street and I am sitting in a quiet, cool house with my feet up and a glass of ice water at my side. Sometimes when the forces align in such a way that I am alone in my own space, I look around at all we have—the detritus and the sticky surfaces and the toys and the crookedly-crayoned artwork on the refrigerator, and I feel equal parts grateful for and overwhelmed with it all. Nothing here will ever be all the way clean. That mark from yesterday's unchaperoned Sharpie collage is probably never going to come off the table. We'll always need milk from the grocery store. The washer will spin in endless cold wash cycles. But there is enough balance right now, as things are, between the managable and the calm—to make me think that we can do this, and even sometimes—maybe—do it well.

But I don't know if you've heard—hey-oh!—we have a third kid on the way. And so the other thought that snakes its way into the silence of the house as I sit and write is What will happen when this baby makes five? Isuppose there's a part of me that houses a niggling fear that another kid will tip us over into utter chaos and that finding a way back to functionality will be a hard road. Most of me, though, imagines the opposite—a dinnertime table full of laughter and swinging legs, a Christmas morning full of footie pajamas and presents, a car full of booster seats and singalongs. Everything and everyone full to the brim with life and mess and noise and love.

Luke ran into an acquaintance at a coffee shop the other day whom he hadn't seen in a while. He and his wife (unexpectedly)had a third kid over a year ago, and so as we both tend to do to people with more than two kids, Luke asked him to dish on how it was for them to have three. The friend said that there were definitely points where things felt crazy, but that there was also just a richness to everything. That sometimes they'd find themselves all in bed together on a Saturday morning, piled together like puppies, and there was a feeling of rightness, of everything being in its place. This—this is the kind of answer Ilove to hear. (Especially since this was a family who thought they were done having kids after their second.)

Because the thing is, I am an optimist through and through, and when something on the horizon seems daunting, Itend to moxie-up and decide that not only are things going to be OK, they'll be better than OK. They'll be awesome. Which I'll admit, can backfire. But hearing someone who's on the other side of the two-kids-to-three transition say the word richness when asked about his three-kid life is great fuel to my Pollyanna fire.

Things are going to be OK. Things are going to be awesome. And crazy! And awesome crazy. Crazeawesome! This is my mantra as Iwait on this quiet couch at 35 weeks for the unknown that lies not so very far in the future.

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