eightgeeseI can just imagine sitting down with my wife at the dinner table. We have been married for five blissful years. We have finally made the house feel like home. We have gotten into a good rhythm with work, our social life, and church. We have put away a bit of money and still have enough to go adventuring overseas once or twice a year.

But we have wanted to have children for some time and tonight, we sit down and the air just feels different. There is a tension there, a feeling of impending change almost like the changing from winter to spring. We both agreed we would wait five years to have children, so that we could enjoy life as a married couple before bringing children into the mix. That five years is up. We know what each other is like. We know our faults and our strengths. We know what the other likes and what they don’t like. Life couldn’t be better. But I know life is about change.

As she passes the lasagna, I look into her eyes and I can see the source of tension. It is time. “I want a baby,” she says. I grin like a little kid. “Ok.” I am excited, because I have always wanted to be a father. Being together as a married couple has been tons of fun, but I don’t want to be an old man when I have my children. I want to enjoy being young with them. I want to hold my little daughter’s hand as we walk along the beach. I want to play catch with my son. I want those kind of experiences in my life.

A night, or a fortnight of renewed passion ensues as we kindle a baby making flame. We stop by the mall and for once we meander through the baby isle with more than just a passing interest. I pick up little blue jump suit and matching sneakers and my wife picks up the smallest pink dress I have ever seen. Each of us has already begun imagining what it will be like to have a child.

Then a month later, my wife comes running out of the bathroom and jumps into my arms. We are pregnant! I twirl her about hugging and laughing and kissing. One line keeps running through my head. I am going to be a father. I am going to be a father. The weight of responsibility settles in and I start thinking about what I am going to have to change. I need to grow up now. I have more than just myself to think about. I have a momentary pang as I think about the fun things that we won’t be able to do for some time. No more adventuring overseas. Well, maybe, if we are lucky. But we won’t be able to sleep in on Saturday. I’ll have to trade the truck in for a SUV or caravan. I will barely miss these things, I finally decide.

The big day comes and my wife and I go to the doctor’s office. It is time for our first check-up. The doctor gets out his little sonogram machine and lubes up my wife’s belly that I am inspecting to see if it has enlarged at all. I can’t tell a thing. My wife grips my hand tightly. Then the doctor puts the little nozzle on her belly and I look up at the screen waiting for the gray blurb that is my son or daughter. That’s when the doctor frowns and says, “That is interesting. It looks like you are going to have octuplets.”

I am not sure what happens at this point. Maybe I pass out on the floor. Maybe I swear belligerently. Maybe I choke. Maybe I politely shout, “What!?!” Maybe I turn to my wife and say, “Honey, isn’t that great!” (Yeah, I didn’t think this was very likely either, but I did want to make it known that it is a possibility.)

But you better believe it that somewhere in my mind I am thinking that eight kids was not what I had in mind when my wife said, “I want a baby.” One, maybe two at a time. Ok. Break me into being a father. But eight! That is not at all what I signed up for.

This is the little scenario that went through my mind when I read the headline about the woman who had couplets out in California. A day or two later I read the article and was astounded at the rest of the details. No husband. Six other children already. No job. She was taking fertilization. A friend donated the sperm. All the bills are going to be paid by the taxpayers.

The real details ruined my little imagined story. Seriously, you think about sitting down with your wife (or if you are woman think about sitting down with your husband) and hoping and dreaming about your first child and all the pleasant changes to come, only to find out it is going to be eight! But it did make me feel better that the chances of my wife surprising me with eight on our first go around are not very good.

© Seth Crossman

image courtesy of ewashtenaw.org