4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
“Mo-om!! I don’t want her in my room! It’s MY room!”
Driving home from school last week with every car seat in the minivan full, Reid was contemplating a play date with a favorite girlfriend. And Reid clearly did not want Cabot coming up to her room and trying to play. Whatsoever. Under any circumstances.
In that moment I found myself projecting into the future like a forward flipping photo album: first pair of expensive designer jeans, ears getting pierced, puberty, braces, first dates, sports teams, the prom, first car. I had four kids in 37 months. Pretty much nothing will be a solo adventure for them. If there’s a buy-one-get-three-free deal anywhere, then I am first in line, and if there’s a way to get four winters out of one winter coat, I’m in. I mean, we’ll pay for two dresses and two tuxes, we’re not that heartless, but one limo people. One limo.
And I tried to think about what future-Reid’s response will be to all this. “But Mo-om! We’re individuals. Gees! You call Mica and I ‘the twins’, like, all the time! We are not one entity! We’re not even conjoined! I am tired of doing everything with all of them. O-M-G, mom! I WANT MY OWN LIMO!”
She has a point. I know families who do separate cakes for twins. We all remember Jon and Kate plus their 8, singing happy birthday six (count it!) times. But then, how’s that working out for them so far? Exactly!
And I’m here as mother to five-year-old Reid ready to head this future conversation off at the pass and lay the foundation for one limo right now. And it’s not all about the cost (although, really, four limos?!) it’s about F-A-M-I-L-Y.
“You’ve got loads of friends Reid, and many of them like you for just you. But some friends along the way will like your siblings, too, because really, you’re all pretty much the same age. And someday you’ll find that some friends will like you more today and Cabot more tomorrow until Mica and Jasper hit puberty. Then half your friends will like the boys best of all, because they’ll think they’re cute. Girlfriends are like that. Some friends will stay, but mostly friends will come and then they will G-O, go.
“But I am here to tell you that your brothers and sister are here forever. Mica? When you’re 25 who will you be having Thanksgiving dinner with?”
Mica in the middle row screwed up his face in concentration, “Weidie?”
“That’s right. Plus Jasper and Cabot and whatever flavor-of-the-week you guys bring straggling in the door, I hope.”
From somewhere in the middle row, “What are flavors-of-da-weeks?”
“You know. Ne’er-do-wells, the riff-raff, random roommates, love interests and assundry people who have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. But focus here, people. And then when you’re 42 who are you going to go to the beach with for a week?”
Reid sighing in abject defeat, “My brothers and sisters.”
“You got that right, sister, because if you’re very lucky, someday you will bring your spouses and your kids to the beach together, and after everyone is in bed I hope you and your sister will stay up and watch the moon rise and drink too much wine and talk about your lives and your kids and what a terrible mother I was and-”
From the backseat, “You’re not a terrible mother.”
“Even sometimes? But wait, I know I am. And you guys can talk about that!”
Again from the backseat, “No, you’re not a terrible mother!”
Relieved, “Well, thank you. Now be nice to your sister. She’s your friend forever. Do you hear me? Forever. And also, you may have to share a limo for the prom, but we can talk about that later.”