Last night I had a long and involved and very detailed dream about being pregnant again. In my dream I was not only pregnant, but pregnant with twin boys. My dream took me through the positive pregnancy test and the discovery, via ultrasound, of the fact that I was carrying twins. It was all so realistic--right down to the numb shock, mixed with creeping delight, at the thought of a new pregnancy. I think, though, that the numb shock won out in the end.
In my dream Scott and I wrestled very realistically with the thought of what this would do to us--my job, the kids, the fact that we don't have enough bedrooms for twins, the idea of ending up with FOUR children, just like that. Later in the dream (time is always tricky in dreams--was this an hour-long dream, or six or seven months worth of time compressed into a few short seconds?) I could feel the babies moving inside of me--insistent pushes and stretches against my insides. When I woke up I was left with a sense of longing for those feelings again. There is, hands down, absolutely nothing like feeling a child move inside of you. It doesn't matter how uncomfortable pregnancy is--and it can be terribly uncomfortable--those pushes and stretches, those unseen little hands and feet probing against your insides, is the most intense and amazing feeling in the entire world. It's preparation, I think, for all the universe-shifting, intense up-and-down wonder of it all--the wonder that begins the moment you hold your child in your arms.
We don't really want any more children--we're pretty certain of that. We are stretched to the limits as we are now--both time-wise, financially, and even emotionally. We've managed the crazy tag-team parenting life we have for over seven years now, and it hasn't been easy. Although I'm already sad about the fact that T. only has one more year at her wonderful preschool before kindergarten, a part of me jumps a little at the thought of life becoming a little more manageable; of not feeling so torn between work and parenting. I imagine being able to actually get work done in my office, instead of pecking away at it here and there at home--in-between lulls in playtime with the kids, or during their rest time, or, worse yet, into the wee hours of the evening, when I'm tired and burned out. After a couple weeks like these past two, I can't imagine sometimes how I have enough energy and both of us enough resources--emotional and otherwise--to make it through another day.
Still, the dream gave me pause to think on and off all day long. I playfully imagined what it would be like to have another child. I let my mind wander through the logistics of it all, the timing, and whether we could plan a spring or summer baby, and go on with life as we know it: parenting, teaching, writing, rushing about from one thing to the next. What I think I did realize, by the end of the day, was that I long to revisit my own children's infancy--not necessarily take on another one. I've been feeling lately like we all need a day or two of couch snuggles with books, or science projects on the screened-in porch, and much less running around. I want to stop the clock a bit, and savor these days with my kids--the wonderful tumble of childhood that both seems so tangible and permanent at this moment, yet which I know is also so vulnerable and fleeting.
I am happy to see my children grow and to think that I have known them from the very beginning, the time when each child was just a whisper inside of me. But no matter how old my children get, how quickly they grow, shedding the habits of children and becoming grown-up, I will still always see the dimples and their first radiant smiles. I might even--oh, how I hope--remember those first stirrings, and my own sharp intake of breath--the pause, hand on belly, the spinning room, the frozen exquisite moment in time that set it all in motion.