1993: Bill Clinton is sworn in as President. Kathleen stars in a play. Cal and I go to Bermuda. For the first time, we can know the sex of the baby before he or she is born. I want to know; Cal doesn’t. So they tell me, and I keep it a secret. The baby is due July 1. On my birthday I’m six months pregnant. I’ve already gained thirty pounds–the total amount of weight I gained in each of the other three pregnancies. While the kids are at school, my best friend Amandah drops by with a six-inch, round birthday cake. I sit down at the breakfast room table and cut a piece, wondering how in the world I’m going to make it another three months. That afternoon, we drive to my parents’ house in Sarasota, Florida, for spring break. The weather’s great, I start walking, I begin to crave fruits and vegetables. In the next three months, I don’t gain another pound. After Jack’s speedy delivery, this one feels as if it’s taking place in slow motion. Sam is born on our anniversary. I always say no to a baby nurse, and I do again. The baby part is my favorite part–the tiny hands, the miniature yawns, the dark and still middle-of-the-nights, no one up but me and a little creature. But this time, week after week, I can’t sleep during the day when Sam sleeps. My mind keeps flipping–Kathleen needs a bathing suit, Bobby needs swimming lessons, Jack wants to have a friend over. By August I’m putting the ice cream in the pantry. I hire a night nurse. When Sam is four months old, I schedule a tubal ligation. The day before the procedure, I put him in a stroller and head up to the fourth floor of the hospital to look at the newborns. Just to be sure. And it’s in that moment, in front of the glass, that I realize I will always love the magic of tiny babies, but it’s time to bring this part of my life to a close.

24 days to 60


Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver