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On Siblings and Second (or Seventh) Kids

29w1d - My sister—my favorite lady on the planet—is sitting across from me and studying, headphones in, tongue half-stuck out the way she always does when she's concentrating. Dave Brubeck is streaming from her earbuds loudly enough for me to tap my flip-flop along, but not so loud that I can't try to make her snort at some dimwitted comment every 11 minutes or so. I wonder if that tongue-biting thing is genetic, and whether Tersh will inherit those wonky genes.

The aforementioned sister was flown in Friday night as a super-secret special surprise, courtesy of my amazing mother-in-law, who also scooted out Southwestward to join in the pre-baby sun and festivities. Several weeks ago, the sister had lied (sort of) and told me she sadly could not make it out to Arizona during my stay on account of some grad school middterms next week. So when she walked onto my parents' patio two evenings ago, I will tell you that I screeched like a spooked hootowl for a good five minutes, and then—yes—wet my pants. I am finally in the Pregnancy Pee Club: No one told me it could be this fun(ny).

So here we are, my little sister and I, hogging a table at a gorgeously appointed public library, instant-messaging daft, nonsensical quips to one another on the hour, studying, working, and just generally getting things done in tandem while we can. As we always have. Almost three years separate us, which—while growing up—proved to be the ideal gap for us to have similar enough interests to tag along with one another without one of us hankering for more attention or independence from the other.

Our adult relationship has cemented even though our distance from one another has grown from 800 to 1500 miles in the last 10+ years. And our brother, nearly three years older than us, has lived in this sun-drenched state for nearly as long. So getting to see both siblings at a clip tends to be a rare and fleeting but indulgently awesome treat.

The sister will fly out in less than 24 hours, though not before she and my brother and I spend the night and morning catching up, taking sweet-spirited potshots at each other, and discussing how much like our family this baby will be. I could not have anticipated this reunion and am just so thankful to have been gifted it before seeing my siblings with any regularity might prove a bit hairy. I miss them with abandon between visits, these doofs who know all the back-stories, all the Why's and How's of who we each are even as the What's are still unfolding.

I think about how important it is for this baby to know these boundlessly clever and entertaining (and acerbic and large-hearted) people, and how tough our respective distances may make that. I think about how—both partnered and destined, themselves, for the baby train—my sister and brother's own kids would so truly add joy and complexity to each other's and our child's life, the same way my siblings have done for my own.  But lastly (and least-ly), I wonder whether giving this baby siblings is in the cards for us. 

One and Done. That's what The Mister and I have arrived at together as we dream of our own family. We will have this incredible baby in May, acknowledge and stay mindful of what a privilege parenting it is—keeping in mind our history to this point—and let our life as a trio unfurl. We want to keep our family small for reasons both personal and practical. And as much as we both can look on in appreciation of our friends' and our own siblings' talks of having handfuls of children, having just one feels right for us.

For now? Er, for now.

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