“You have two beautiful daughters, when are you going to try for a son?”
This is what my wife and I faced for several years – the constant question about having a third child.
I’m a dad who is like most others. I have a career. I volunteer in the community. I like to hang out with friends, play hoops, play poker, golf, and go to ball games. I have a busy schedule, and I like to be active.
With babies and toddlers, parents are in what I affectionately call “the shadow stage.” We shadow their every step and every move. We provide every level of care they need. We keep them from falling down and getting hurt. We even watch them while they sleep, to make sure they’re breathing OK. As enjoyable as it is to raise babies, the shadow stage can leave parents exhausted, stressed, and just plain drained. Leaving little time and energy for extracurricular activities.
When my girls hit ages 7 and 5, life got a lot easier. I mean, they were both more self-sufficient. They could feed, dress, bathe, and entertain themselves. I actually began to look forward to the Griswold-style family road trips and vacations to Mt Rushmore. We were entering that stage of really enjoying parenthood with kids who were in a prime age of wonder and excitement. I call this the “fun and freedom stage.” Plus, my heart was so full of love for those two girls. Was there room for more?
Then the questions kept coming. “Wouldn’t another baby just complete your family?”
The thing is…I felt like our family was complete. I didn’t need another child to fulfill my life. Besides, we were in the fun and freedom stage. Time to live it up and enjoy it, right? Everyone says it goes fast. Wouldn’t a baby get in the way and slow us down?
So I fought it. Even though my wife started talking about it more and more. I fought it. “We are too settled,” I thought. “Another baby would be too expensive. We’d have to get a bigger car. We’d have to add a bedroom to our house somehow. We’d have to delay our big vacation plans.” I was looking for good excuses.
Plus, I felt like I couldn’t go back to the stage of bottles, and diapers, and 3 am wake-up calls, and car seats, and strollers, and spit-up, and…and…….
And smiles…and coos…and snuggles…and adoring blue eyes…and nursery rhymes…and lullabies…and a face that lights up when you enter the room.
We had another baby. I still remember the moment the doctor revealed to us it was a boy. I didn’t expect to be as excited as I was. I could have loved three girls as much as anything, but now, I have a son. I have a SON! At that moment my life flashed before my eyes and I saw us playing catch in the backyard, going to sporting events together, fishing, camping, golfing, playing video games, joking, laughing and all the other cliché images of fathers and sons one could imagine.
My two daughters are “daddy’s girls.” I adore those little ladies. They bring me so much joy and happiness. They’ve made me feel like the luckiest dad in the world.
So perhaps my hesitancy in having another baby at first was based on fear. Fear of losing that connection with my daughters. Fear of putting additional stress on my life and marriage. Fear that something could go wrong with the pregnancy and cause pain for my wife. Fear of…messy.
But each time those fearful thoughts crept into my head, I was reminded that God will not give us more than we can handle. And I prayed about it. I wasn’t sure exactly what to pray for because I still didn’t know what I wanted. That’s the great thing about faith. Because God knows what’s in our hearts – even better than we do. He knows what’s best for each of us. So when I opened my heart and asked God to simply let His will be done in my life, it happened.
God gave us the gift of a baby boy. And like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day – March 3rd, 2017. I adore the kid. He doesn’t do much yet, but I can tell we’re going to best friends.
So this Father’s Day, I rejoice and give thanks. I’ve learned to stop trying to control everything myself. Not only do I have a new relationship with my baby boy, but I have a stronger connection to my Father in Heaven. I never expected to feel this much love. Fear is gone. At least, until he starts crawling.