I'm sitting here in my house with only one child - the youngest.
I hear his quiet 20 month-old babble from his room as he sorts through toys in his toybox without the disruptions or distractions of his older brothers plowing him down and shouting things at him like, "Stop messing up the TRACK!!!!"
These moments are intensely rare, and they are always welcomed with a combination of him enjoying his freedom while wishing his brothers were here to entertain him. But it's mostly the former.
I get to see and notice things about him that are otherwise concealed by the chaos of our lives. For instance, his words. He has so many words. Real words and words he's made up. I love his words. I would go play with him, but really he just wants me to sit here while he decides when he graces me with his presence. He brings me things that he thinks are funny - like a bouncy ball and sunglasses - a bottle of pills, because he knows they are forbidden. This kid thinks he is a real riot. He also thinks I'm the funniest person in the world. And since we both agree on these things, we get along well.
Like his brothers before him, he perfectly contours to my body when we rock, and I can't imagine a world without him in it. Sometimes I imagine what he would be like if he was an only child, but then it's so hard, because I believe he was made to forge a way through his older brothers. He was built serious and silly, strong and opinionated.
When you have three kids and you are left with just one everything seems so easy. Then you wonder why it didn't seem so easy when you only had one to begin with. Or two. Everything all along has been equal parts hard laced with beautiful, and you can't figure out why it has to be that way.
When I only had one, would I have let him play so independently in the other room while I sit here and type? I probably would have thought of that as neglect. I'd imagine he would have thought of it as neglect too. That's the beauty of multiple children.... they become more forgiving the further you go. Or maybe you become more forgiving of yourself. Yes, that's it.
Today I am thankful for a quiet morning alone with my youngest son.