Sharlene has taught him so much about switching one’s perspective, different ideas, how other people perceive and analyse the world around them and it might seem ridiculous that an intelligent being like Karl wouldn’t have figured it out on his own but he’s fairly convinced that he wouldn’t have.
Without her, he might just as well have been stuck in a clearly defined place, carrying the same clear-cut beliefs and ideas about everything.
He’s come to realise that Sharlene is usually right. That he can trust her judgement.
So it’s been difficult recently what with their different opinions about expanding their family – she’s been so passionately for it and he’s been quite passionately against it and they haven’t found any middle ground because it’s not really that kind of decision. You don’t kind of have a third child.
It’s been tough for Sharlene, especially, he can see that. She’s trying not to show it but Karl knows she’s sad and he really can’t stand that.
Normally she wouldn’t let him make decisions based on the fact that he doesn’t want her to be sad, but this time she doesn’t protest which gives him another clue how important it is to her that they try for another baby.
“Are you sure?” she asks, but he can tell from the look on her face that she doesn’t really expect an honest answer, at least not if it’s going to be a negative one.
“Yes,” Karl replies because part of him is.
Unlike most couples on different work schedules, this kind of thing works very well for them. They’re both introvert people in need of time to themselves and with this arrangement one of them is always home with the kids.
While that intervention technique doesn’t solve the root of the problems, it brings about a less stormy relationship overall and Karl has noticed that the boys can play with each other now, because they’re not constantly busy trying to beat each other up or destroy each other’s stuff.
Sharlene insists they do things as a family as well and their work schedules allow them to always have dinner together – a positive little piece of the day, where they never discuss anything negative. The boys usually talk about school and Karl and Sharlene talk about funny memories from their childhoods, what they want to do for the holidays, that kind of thing.
Both of the boys love her and readily agrees to most activities she suggests because she’s cool aunt Laura and usually never wrong about anything, ever. Especially Isaac adores to spend time with her and since he’s the most troublesome of the twins, Karl welcomes it.
Isaac is all talk when it comes to this sort of thing, though. He talks about diving all the way from their porch to the pool but then when he stands there on the trampoline, he looks much less sure of himself.
That night Sharlene tells him she’s pregnant and he’s not surprised to learn that he’s both excited and horrified in equal measures. If he put any sort of trust to flimsy spiritual notions about the universe he would probably see it as fate that the moment she gets off birth control, they succeed. Like the universe means for them to have another baby.
He doesn’t believe in that, though, but the thought settles at the back of his mind all the same.
He picks it up again a few days later as he visits Konrad and his family. The house is crowded in the same way their house used to be, back when they were kids themselves. A house full of messes, noise and kids running around.
A good kind of chaos, their mum used to say.
Karl has never been a big fan of chaos, though, and he’s never wished the same kind of life for himself. But Konrad is happy – really tired but undoubtedly happy too – and Sharlene is happy with being pregnant again so maybe it shouldn’t be so much harder for Karl to feel the same way.
He reaches down to pick up one of his brand nephews, trying to imagine having a tiny baby again. It seems so long ago now, he’s actually missed it, having someone so small in his arms.
* So Sharlene got her way about the baby, which is pretty unsurprising. Financially they’ve never really recovered from having the twins when they were both fresh out of college, but they’ve got good jobs and solid incomes and will make up for it in time. She’s due around New Year’s so I’ve decided to let her give birth in January.
* And wordpress users – does anyone know why wordpress keeps resizing my photos even though I select the option ‘full size’? In my editor the photos are 650×500 (more or less) but when I post the images are cut down to 640 or some such. Not a big deal but it makes a lot of difference for the quality.