Today we went to visit some friends, Gabe and Abby, who have just returned from living in London since January. They have three children who are 6, 4 and 1. Their youngest was about Eloise's age when they left and I didn't have much memory of her-- usually when we were with them I was focused on my two children and their baby often was sleeping when we were around. Seeing her today, though, after several months away, was so much fun. She is 14 months old and very good at walking. She was really enjoying climbing on her brother and sister's things and was absolutely the most charming little girl!
As I watched the two older kids and Iris play together while the little one toddled around I spent some time chatting with Abby about raising children and how it changes with each subsequent child. I haven't really spent any time with a family with three small children, but watching those kids today made me think about how wonderful it would be to have three. For the first time since Eloise was born I briefly imagined having a third and didn't just freeze in fear. Instead I thought about amazing it would be and sad I felt that I just couldn't bring myself to birth any more babies. If babies could spontaneously appear, I would have a third in a heart beat. Abby said her first was hard because she was an anxious new mother. Her second was hard because they were so close together and her oldest had developed some medical issues that were a struggle. But her third? She could enjoy her third because she is more relaxed and can spend time alone with her when her older two are in school. When I saw how beautiful and happy and healthy their littlest daughter was, I just couldn't help but think about how lucky they are to have her in addition to their hilarious, smart and adorable older children.