Four kids—people used to stare at us as we walked by in Target.

“You must have your hands full,” they’d say, the look of confusion or revulsion or fear more than evident.

“Four?” My grandmother asked, she who had only mothered one and found that to be more than enough.

Truth be told, I’d have had more—five was my original plan.

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And today when we walked into a restaurant, something we don’t do often because we don’t often have the extra money with four, people stared again.

But here is the thing—today the teen boy let his sister pick out stickers from the skateboard shop because he couldn’t decide and because he trusted her and today she willingly let him ride shotgun.

And the pre-teen girl picked out pants for her 7-year-old sister.

And the teen boy played video games with his 5-year-old brother.

And these kids, all these kids—all the children we chose to have and are so blessed to have, will have each other.

Always. Through every milestone, hardship, joy and other act of life that happens.

We have given them the gift of each other.

One day when we are gone—they will not be alone in their grief, in their memories, in the incommunicable past only they share.

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And they do. They remember that time—when first words were whispered or shouted, when the tree crashed down in a storm and we all slept in the basement, when we grieved using humor.

They will share years of childhood that will segue into adulthood.

They will gather and disperse and gather again—when life dictates that they need to.

So yes, we have four children. But more importantly, they have each other.

And that is the real blessing.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page 

Parenting is a wild ride, but the strategies in Mindful Parenting in a Chaotic World have made it a little smoother for us! Too busy to sit and read? You can listen here, on Audible.

People seemed to get this last year when I shared it….Four kids—people used to stare at us as we walked by in…

Posted by Suburban Shit Show: Tales from the Tree-Lined Trenches on Monday, January 13, 2020

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Nicole Johnson

Nicole has written for SELF, Curbed, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Redbook, and Parents. She maintains the page Suburban Sh*t Show where she talks honestly about motherhood, marriage, and midlife.