J & I were watching Planet Earth, and in the Fresh Water episode they showed this pack of otters. They form massive packs, like 15 or 20 strong. Otters are really pretty funny looking: like a wet, stretched out mix of a squirrel and wiener dog. They hunt together, eat together, swim together, sleep together: chatting away the entire time. They even cuddle, for heaven's sake. During a swimming party, this massive crocodile tried to pick one off for supper, and this entire clan of skinny little otters chased him away. A pack of squirrely wiener dogs ran off a huge, hungry crocodile. When he was gone, you half expected them to start high-fiving each other.
Before we had Avram, J & I had decided we wanted three kids. I mean, if a fourth came along we wouldn't kick them out on the street or anything, but three just seemed so...right. You just make plans like that. It's what people do.
My brother is my best friend and I wouldn't trade our relationship for all the world, but as a little girl I always wanted a sister to play Barbies and Mall Madness with. True story: when Paul was born, I refused to go to the hospital because he wasn't a girl. I forced my Yoo-Hoo to watch Bambi three times before we could go. Then, I called him Katie. For months.
Once I was finally resigned to the fact he was boy, I called him Pumpkin Head because he had a bad case of jaundice. I was an awesome sister. In a shoebox somewhere, there is a picture of my cousin Maggie and me holding Paul at his dedication. We both have this stone-cold look on our faces, like, "Yeah, we are so excited about another boy in this family. No, really. So happy."
Occasionally Paul would play Barbies-and-GI-Joes with me, but that usually ended up in headless Barbie dolls and a Power Ranger stuck an inch into my knee cap (Also a true story. Scar to prove it.).
J has two brothers and a sister, and it's just so much fun at their house when everyone is there. They are all so different but still so close, and when they are all together their mom positively glows. They are a village. A small, happy village.
After Avram was born, J & I did some reconsidering of that magic number. We just weren't sure--and still really aren't--about how much care he will need, or if what he has is genetic or spontaneous. And I'm still not positive about how I would handle being pregnant again, or if I would have a complete nervous breakdown from the fear that bad news looms at every check-up.
Don't read too much into this (Mom): we have quite awhile to think about adding to the pack here. I need some time to enjoy being able to tie my own shoes again. But when I think about how close Paul and I are, and how I couldn't have possibly made it through the last, oh, ten years without him, or about how much joy Jason gets from being around his siblings...I don't want Avram to be alone when J & I have both gone all senile and loony. I want him to be able to call his siblings and say, "Oh geez, they found mom walking downtown in her underwear again, what are we going to do this time?" Or if he does need extra care and something happens to me and J, I don't want him to only have one sibling with all the responsibility. I don't want him to be alone if we are long gone and he gets sick, or in trouble.
He just can't be alone when the crocodiles come.
He needs a pack.