Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Third

When the kids were around 5 and 3, and my baby fever was in overdrive, I asked Jack what he would think of having another sibling.

"Can a baby play with me?" he asked.
"Well, not for a good while," I said. "But eventually."
"Then, no." he said.

He changed his tune a few years later:

"Mom, when are you having another baby?" By that time, I felt as if the window had closed. "You and Margaret are at an easy age now, but babies are HARD."

"You're only 36," he said.

Then, "You're only 37. You know if you had had one when you were 36, the baby would already be one by now."

Aargh.

Margaret was less pushy about the baby thing, but after I told her about China's one child policy, she figured that adoption was the best way. She wouldn't just get another sibling, she would get a SISTER!

She wrote on a piece of paper in Sharpie, "ADOPT GIRL FROM CINA" and stuck it on the fridge. It was spelled wrong, but the meaning was clear. Jack added his 2 cents to the bottom in pencil, "no."

I'm not sure whether this meant Jack was anti-adoption, anti-CINA, or whether he was holding out hope for a brother, but the years just continued to add up and our indecision became a decision.

Same conversation every year.

38
39
40

Jack said, "Have another baby, you're only 41!" just two weeks before the accident. I told him about my old eggs, but he wasn't buying it.

So, I'm guessing he's pleased with how things are unfolding, even though he would be 17 years older than this baby. He won't be here to play with him, drive him places, and help his mom out. But I do think he will be watching over all of us. And Margaret won't get the sister she always wanted. But there will finally be three of them: Jack, Margaret, and, Baby Brother.

It's interesting to think of those conversations over the years. Was Jack's unrelenting pressure because he wanted another playmate, or was it because deep down the tug of the universe was letting him know he didn't want Margaret to be left alone? 

It's a mystery.

And I'm adding it to my list of questions for when I get to heaven.

27 comments:

Kathy Radigan said...

I love that Jack kept asking you for a baby and telling you that you were only (whatever age). I'm sure your little one will love knowing that he was so wanted by everyone, even his older brother!

greenapples said...

Anna - this gave me chills. I do believe that the people we love and have lost are our angels on earth. And with the recurring theme throughout your book of your children knowing a little bit more than they should have of things to come, why wouldn't it follow that he had a sense of this as well?

:)

Wade's World said...

Beautiful post. I'm sure Jack is thrilled about your new addition!

Michelle said...

I'd love to hear what other questions are on your list. so excited for you and your family. surely big brother is grinning from above!

Julie said...

My sister-in-law had a huge surprise party for my brother when he turned 24. A lot of family came back for it & many of his high school friends. It was great to see everyone. I remember asking my mom a few weeks before the party why Jacque (my sis-in-law) was throwing a party for him for 24 instead of at least waiting for 25 or even 30 (much more significant b-days in my mind). We just assumed that she liked throwing parties (they had only been married for a few months). My brother died in a freak accident less than 2 weeks after that party. My mom & I have revisited that conversation many times since - it ended up being a pretty "significant" b-day... and that party was such a blessing!

Loukia said...

I know he's smiling at this incredibly happy news. And imagine how much extra special love your new son will have, not only from his mom and dad and sister,r but from his extra special brother from above. Love to you, always.

Lady Courtney said...

I love this. Jack knew even then, and I'm sure he's ecstatic! That little baby boy has the very best guardian angel.

Fiona LilyfieldLife said...

beautifully written Anna. so happy for this baby and the love of your fmaily

Kay Windsor said...

My daughter, who died at fifteen, grew up with two older brothers, and when she felt outnumbered (or outvoted), she would often tell me we needed to have another daughter: We need more girls in this family! So now that her older brother and his wife have five daughters and the other brother has a daughter and our only grandson.I think she might be pleased, and I hear the echo of her saying we need more girls. So I have some questions on my list too--and meanwhile, much joy in these granddaughters and grandsons too.

Scary Mommy said...

Oh, Anna. Just beautiful.

tenthousandplaces.org said...

Wonderful.

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Julie: Your story about your brother and the party reminds me of Jack's trip to Legoland! On the day that he died, on the way home from school in the car, he asked why his dad took him to Legoland at age 12 rather than 13 as we had planned. 2.5 hours after that conversation, he had his accident.

angela said...

This is so lovely. What a lucky third baby to be so very wanted by everyone in his family.

Julie said...

Wow, yes, Legoland is just like the 24th b-day party! Reading that brought tears to my eyes even after all these years (my brother, Doug, has been gone almost 20 yrs!). It's like God was trying to make things a little bit easier for us by giving us one more cherished moment before he took Jack & Doug back to be w/ Him. And this new baby is another amazing gift! I couldn't be happier for your whole family.

Liz G said...

I have a sister who is 17 years older than I am. I am forever grateful to have her in my life. She shares so much wisdom with me and has enriched my life so very much. I'm so happy for you all. This baby will be such a blessing!

Laura Farrell said...

Anna.....I have been following your news and haven't written to you yet. I am so excited for you and have really learned so much from your posts! You guys are truly an amazing family and strong beyond words!!! I also read your post when it was your mom's birthday and the weird timing of when we turn an age that our parents were....I think about that a lot and can totally relate to what you were saying. Would love to connect with you sometime, I am just over the river in Md.

Keep up the amazing work you are doing!!!
Love and hugs!
Laura Leddy Farrell



Laura Farrell said...

Hi Anna!! I have read about all of your exciting news and haven't gotten in touch with you yet. I am so excited for you guys and am also continually amazed by your strength, kindness, faith and hope. Not to mention your sense of humor!!!! I also really connected with a post you made on your mom's birthday.....weird timing to turn an age that our parents were ... I think about that often and really understood where you were coming from.

I would love to connect with you sometime, I am just over the river in MD.
Keep up the amazing work you are doing!!
Love and hugs!
Laura Leddy Farrell

Nikki Ehlers said...

My last baby was born when I was 41 years old. She was planned, but I felt a little greedy asking for one more healthy baby, please! She is now 26, about to start a new job as a staff attorney for a disability rights group. She has been such a blessing to her two brothers and sister and me. Once he arrives, you won't be able to imagine life without your new little guy. I'm so happy for you.

Arnebya Herndon said...

I wouldn't believe I could love anything more than this post today, but the stories being shared are tipping me over.

Julie Gardner said...

Thank you for sharing this with us.
Your posts always make me think more deeply.
About everything.

www.robinbotie.com said...

I love how you include Jack in the newest chapters of your life. Oh, the places our children will take us, and how they color our experience and times. Cheers, Anna.

Gillian said...


Hi Anna,
I have been reading (and thinking about you and your family) for so long and never commented. I am so happy for your pregnancy...when you first announced it I remember thinking about how The Terrible Night, that your daughter kept saying she didn't want to be an only child. I couldn't help but think that Jack, already safe and warm in a new place, was thinking "You won't be, but you all need a few years to know you can make it as a family of three, first". Your story is giving me much needed hope in these current times of sadness around the world. Thank you for sharing so much of your story and soul to all of us strangers. with great love from Nebraska, Gillian.

Kerry S. said...

Thinking of you today Anna and just wanted to send a note saying I'm sending love.

Miss Mustard Seed said...

My mom just told me about your pregnancy and I am so excited for you! What a special gift to your family. I hope this brings so much joy to all of you!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

All of the above......
((Hugs))

Anonymous said...

WOW,
Never knew Jack felt this way,
Jenn never said anything

Anonymous said...

Children in your 40s are great! I had my 6th at 43 with my oldest almost 13. The idea of starting over again was hard but now that we are 7 months in (her name is Anna BTW) we can't imagine life without her. I know you are almost due so I wish you the best. God bless - in sure jack is joyful in heaven over this!