Did we plan on having all four kids?

four diapersI don’t quite understand the dynamic, but I’m starting to become a part of my parents. The trust I was appalled they didn’t give me months ago has developed over time. It could leave at any moment, but for the last month, they freely accept and seem to appreciate my help.

As I learned to sit quietly when they recreate history and events, my parents learned that I could help fill in the gaps when they were struggling — if they asked.

My mom asks if I expected to be raising four kids. I only have two. I’m touched that she realizes that the time and energy I’m spending with them now is like having two additional children. I told her I always wanted four kids so this is working out well for me.

My dad turns to my mom and asks her if they planned to have four kids or did it just happen? My mom crabs at my dad about leaving for war and leaving her with kids. She is in a cranky mood.

I jump in given my mom’s crabby response and share that my belief was that they had planned on stopping at two. My sister K. was first and my brother W. second. My dad is a 3rd (III) and we heard stories how our great-grandmother “Granise” called on my parents to find out why they didn’t pass down the tradition and name their first son the family name (her husband was the 1st).

They promised Granise they would name their next son the family name (and would jokingly say because they never expected to have another child.) My mom is outraged by my story. “I just can’t believe that!”

For a moment, I sense what it’s like to have dementia as Kate Swaffer described it to me. At 48 years of age, I am not sure whether my belief that I was a mistake was real or imagined. Unsettled. 

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