Why three kids ended up being the magic number for my family

I have three teenagers.

At one point in time, I had three little ones. I don’t know if ever in my life, I thought I would like to have three kids. Who has ever thought, “I’ll have this many kids and be happy with that amount of kids?” Do people do that? Do people really make an Excel document planning out their lives down to the amount of children they’ll have? Maybe the Duggars, but even they couldn’t plan for the exact amount of kids they’d have.

After I had my first child, we moved away from everyone we knew when he was 9 months old. My husband and I joked that since we didn’t have any friends or family near us, there was nothing else to do but have sex, so that’s why we had our second kid. That was the deciding factor for the arrival of baby No. 2.

So we had two kids in 18 months. A boy and then a girl.

Two in diapers.

A lot of people do this. It’s not difficult. In fact, looking back it made a lot of sense. Get through all the rough stuff while you’re deep down in the trenches. You’re already knee-deep in diaper changes and breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and no sleep, so you might as well keep going. Why wait until you’ve finished doing one insane thing and forgotten how to do it just to start up the craziness all over again?

When our kids were 2 and 1, we began to see the light peeking through the top of the trenches, but we still sensed that something was missing. Something unknown was edging its way into our hearts. We knew that even though people kept telling us we had a “Rich Man’s Family” — the boy and then the girl — that we needed another kid.

Our family wasn’t done yet.

So, we began working on it. And it didn’t take long for our third and final baby to arrive.

A boy.

That boy is now 13 years old.

And he and I share a terrific secret.

Even though it may have been assumed that I already had the perfect family before he came along, I knew that there was something missing.

I tell my third and final child a secret many nights when I tuck him into bed. He’s a teenager now (a teenager) but he’s still my baby, and he still humors me when I share this secret with him. And I think he delights in it…

I whisper into his ear that even though I adore and love his brother and sister immensely and wouldn’t trade the world for them, he is a special one.

Because I didn’t have to have him. I already had a boy. I already had a girl. I already had a perfect little family. He is the added bonus. We wanted him just because. Just because he was needed to complete our family.

We need him here to complete our family of five.

He’s done that for us.

More on siblings

Sibling rivalry stressors
Coping with sibling rivalry
Wish you’d stopped at one?


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