Nicholas and I had such a beautiful week together. He gurgled and giggled and squealed, he sent out his magical grappling hooks and tethered himself inexorably to me, soul to soul. He slept by my side, close enough to hold hand to finger; he and I drank deep of each other’s presence, rediscovering the holiness of the bond between mother and child. It was heavenly.
At the end of the week, we stood outside the Mo-X office waiting for Christian and the kids to pick us up. The van pulled into the parking lot, and through the windshield I waved at Julianna. Her face split into the biggest grin, and she waved back at me.
By the time we had the suitcase and stroller loaded, Christian was shouting at Julianna to stop whining, Alex was shouting about who knows what, and I was repeating over and over in my head, Keep your cool. Keep your cool.
Not long ago, I said that when Alex was gone, life was so much quieter and more relaxed. Last night Christian reminded me that I had said the same thing previously about Julianna. “I don’t think it’s Alex,” he said. “I think it’s having three of them.”
Clearly, math is insufficient to quantify the experience of parenting. One plus one equals two. Add another and you get not three, but Chaos.