When I was twenty-nine and pregnant with our second child, I sat in the doctor's office late in my pregnancy making all the plans for my hospital visit.
The nurse had a long list of questions for me to answer, from who my pediatrician would be to whether or not our little baby boy would be circumcised. I was hugely preggers and sitting in those oh-so-comfy molded plastic doctor's office chairs was killing my wide rear; it took a few seconds for her last question to sink in.
"And did you want to schedule a ligation?"
What? Did I hear her right? I thought.
"You mean getting my tubes tied?" I asked.
"Yes," she answered. "Since this one's a boy and you already have a daughter..."
Her voice trailed off as she saw my face.
"No," I answered, my voice firm. "No ligation." My temper (surprise!) flared, and I pointed to the space that read Religious Affiliation, thumping my finger on my own handwriting which read Roman Catholic.
"No," I said once again, "And I think you should read your files more carefully before you ask that question of another patient."
That was six years ago; I've since had one more child, the Guinness Book of World Records Temper Tantrum Record Holder, little Tom. He's now three and a half, and I am finally - after years of diapers and onsies and Exersaucers and sticky-icky baby food - holding my departure ticket from Babytown.
But it's still not punched; I don't know if I'm ready to leave.
There are times when I am dead certain, those days when the calendar is almost screaming with the strain of all the events I've penciled in for a mere twenty four hours. Days when the oldest two are bickering in that I'm-not-touching-you kind of way that drives me slap ass crazy.* Moments when Tom still throws a colossal meltdown (NEW! Now with FULL verbal retorts!) in public, leaving me no other choice than to tote him out the door on my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, hollering for Becky and Huck to hurry up, it's TIME to GO.
There are all the usual arguments: time, space, money, my ever-advancing age (peeps, don't tell anyone but I'm going to be thirty six this fall), my desire to sleep in chunks of time greater than two hours, and my aversion to gaining and losing fifty pounds yet again.
They are rational and logical and sensible, these voices of reason.
But then I go to church and see some of our friends, people just like us who have four or five or six or even ten (I know - ten; she's one funny and down-to-earth mama, too), and I watch their families. They are all amazing, all happy and loved and just plain fun.
And I wonder.
I have that oh-so-fun appointment next week with my fave ob-gyn; I know she's going to ask me some questions about whether we're done or not and I have no earthly idea what I'm going to tell her.
Yes? Maybe? No?
I am still Catholic enough to not feel comfortable with anything permanent like a ligation but beyond that certainty, I have no answers except all the standard ones listed above.
No answers, peeps, just more questions for my soul to ponder.
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*I know of no better term for that particular mental state.