I was driving Arthur to his guitar lesson recently.
We got into one of those random conversations that happen in a car with a seven year old. Somehow it came up that I had only wanted to have one child and that after a while his dad and I had changed our minds and how lucky we were to have changed our minds because,"what would we do without you, Arthur?"
"Yea," he said enthusiastically from the backseat, "and I wouldn't have been able to go to San Antonio, or Yellowstone, or New York, or Florida......."
(I found it interesting that the trips we have taken were first on his mind of what he would have missed.)
In my usual fashion of giving too much information I tried explaining my belief that if he had not been born to Bob and I then his spirit would have gone to another family and maybe they would have gone on even better trips.
At this point we had arrived at our destination and were walking across the street towards the guitar shop. He looked up at me wide eyed after I said this and adjusted the guitar on his shoulder.
"Well, I would have had to run away from that family and find YOU mom," he said shaking his head and looking back down at the street.
A few days later I was washing dishes when Arthur started asking me some specifics about the time frame of Bob's death. He wanted to know how old he was when Bob died and the like. I didn't think much about it initially because this is not an unusual line of questioning around our house. But then he surprised me-
"Well, it's a good thing I wasn't born to that other family because you really needed me."
That statement made me pause.
I thought back to being early in my pregnancy with Arthur and the knife in the belly fear I felt when Bob was first diagnosed. I remembered Arthur being a newborn and Bob dying and the hazy exhaustion that consumed me. I remembered the many times I thought that I didn't need Arthur. As a matter of fact, I often thought about how much easier life would be without an infant to care for.
And then I thought about my friend's belief that children choose their parents. And my sister's belief that children come into the world knowing what their parents need from them.
I don't know why Bob and I changed our minds about a second child when we did.
I don't know why Arthur would have chosen to come into the situation he did.
But I'm glad we did and I'm glad he did.
Because one thing I do know is that Arthur was right, I did need him.
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