Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Child Who Almost Wasn't

Two kids - that had always been the plan. We even had one of each gender, so we were all set. Families of four fit into the booths at restaurants, or around a square table. Board games are usually for 2-4 players. When you win a trip, it's always for a family of four. Sedans fit four people comfortably. It's a lot easier to save for two kids to go to college than it is to save for three, leaving aside the added expense of another person in the family.

We have three kids. On purpose!

So what happened? Well, the first two were very cute! That's most of it - we loved our kids and felt like we had enough love to share with one more. We loved the "baby" experience - the joy of a new infant in the family. We felt like having a little brother or sister would make at least one of the existing kids really happy. Plus, we already had all the baby stuff, we'd learned how to be parents to a baby - we were good at it, we were prepared for it, it almost felt like it would be a waste to stop.

It wasn't easy, though. We had already made our decision when I suddenly lost a pretty good job. It had been a slap in the face, too. Instead of just acknowledging some changing business priorities that made my skills (and those of my boss and key co-workers, who were also fired just a few days after I was) seemingly over-powered to their new business model, the executive who had recently taken charge of the IT department invented (not very convincingly) a cause for termination. It was nonsense and eventually I negotiated a more rational parting of the ways through HR, but it hurt to be told that I'd done something wrong when I knew I hadn't. And the timing was critical - I was suddenly out of work, and who knew how long it would take to find something comparable? (The answer to that question turned out to be about 14 months, but we certainly didn't know that at the time.) My wife and I had to have a tough discussion - should we abandon the idea of having a third child? Should we wait? What was the right thing to do for us and our family?

I was adamant. We'd made our decision, and I would be damned if I'd let that same miserable excuse for a businessman preemptively take away one of my children the way he'd so disingenuously taken away my job. Bring it on! We're having this baby!

And so we did. And I couldn't be happier. That little boy has brought tremendous joy into our lives - and into our family. Yes, sometimes one of us sits out during a board game. We have to pull up another chair at restaurants (or wait for a bigger table to become available). The kids are going to be strongly encouraged to win scholarships for academics or music or (as unlikely as it may be) sports. But that's all okay, and we wouldn't trade a moment of it for convenience or money.

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