As always feel free to not read anything I write, especially my ramblings…….It’s safer for me anyway to think no one reads this.
I will be 38 in a couple of weeks, so maybe that explains it. Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis.
There are so many thoughts. I’ll write them all down and see where I go with this.
Jason and I are trying to make a baby. To be honest, a baby of the male variety. This little soul has been haunting me for some time. We tried domestic infant adoption. Remember this? It never went anywhere and I really thought that would have been much too simple, at least with my track record. We tried adopting from foster care. I got an email just this week from the agency. We only lack one piece of paper and a visit from being approved. But after our millions of hours of training and reams of paperwork, it stopped feeling right, so we stopped. International adoption is not an option for us. Jason and I can’t even get away for a night by ourselves – how could we go to a foreign country for weeks on end? So all that was left was reversing Jason’s vasectomy and hoping that the little guy, the one that visits our family from time to time to tell us we aren’t finished, decides to take advantage of our restored fertility. Only thing is now we are old. We have old parent’s issues. One of my sisters asked if we would consider IVF, which is what couples do with our issue. No. No, we won’t. If we were 38 and 41 and didn’t have any children, you bet. I’d be knocking down the door of the nearest fertility clinic. But we aren’t. Not by a long shot. We have six children. Six beautiful girls.
I explained to her that my life is complicated, hard really. I spend every waking hour (and a lot of my sleeping hours) worrying and caring for my Bella. I do everything in my power to make sure she gets everything that will A. Keep her alive and B. be all that she can be. Then there is Joy. For Joy I spend an incredible amount of time trying to make sure that she gets all the therapy we can fit in, all the advantages I can arrange so that she can be the very best she can be. Then I have four “normal” kids. Kids with their own secret hidden challenges. Challenges we work with and deal with every day. And then on top of that, I want them to have the best “normal” life they can have. I want them to succeed. I want them to be happy. I want them to have every opportunity so that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be. So do I have time for hormones and procedures and a huge chance of a multiple pregnancy? Absolutely not. I am barely keeping it together. My doggy paddle to keep my head above water seems to be growing weaker as it is.
So I don’t have the strength of character to go through IVF. I don’t want to go there. We aren’t going there. Our baby will have to come the good old-fashioned way. He (hopefully!!) will just have to be our little miracle. Because a miracle is what it’s going to take for us to make it through everything anyway.
But sometimes I stop and let my mind jump past the miracle to the future that includes Little Brother (our name for our persistent visiting spirit). I imagine the life we have and try to include him in it – and I don’t want to. My mind revolts. No, I will not go there. You can’t make me, it screams as it stomps it’s feet. So what do you want? I ask my tender, so what bruised and harried self. Peace, clarity, simplicity, calm. I long to share with him time out of doors, time to read with him, time to discover this beautiful world. Time.
So I ponder that. Right now I am in the busy phase of motherhood. There is the physical-ness, the neediness of the little ones. There is the fun-ness, the excitement of learning, the energy of preschoolers. Then there are the schedules, and the growing importance of outside influences of schoolers. Then the give me money, drive me here, and love me from a distance of teenagers. I feel the busyness. I feel it down to the depths of my soul. It is exhausting. President Uchtdorf even spoke about it. We are always running, but are we becoming?
I think about a new little one and wonder when I would even have the time to sit quietly and nurse that sweet little one? I think about time. I try to carve out time. I sat and sang with Jessi for a half hour on Friday afternoon while waiting for Lizzy’s piano lesson. Jessi left for her lesson with a spring in her step. I read thirty pages to Lizzy from an AR book last night. Becca and I talked about the future, about college, about the boy she wishes would join the church so he could play a larger role in her future plans. Sammi and I stopped and bought a smoothie at McDonald’s. All of that takes time. And I don’t have any of it. To be honest, I was thinking of all of the millions of other things I NEEDED to be doing while I was having those moments with my children. Needs – real needs. There are only so many hours in the day. But those moments need to happen too. Sometimes I can’t carve out the time and I pray really hard that somehow He will make up the difference. I pray they won’t resent their sisters or me.
I saw a picture of myself on Friday. It was probably taken seven years ago. Man, could you tell. The lines of worry, the exhaustion, they weren’t there. My eyes were bright. I see pictures of the kids when they were younger and I want to cry. Time is so cruel. It keeps moving. Ever onward. Relentless. It takes babyhood, toddlerhood, childhood. It leaves only the memories.
I am trying to be normal for the kid’s sake. I want them to have normal lives. I want them to have lessons. I want them to play instruments. I want them to be considered successful. I want them to be confident, willing, and able to face whatever life throws at them. But lately I’ve been wondering… What is success? How do we define it? Why do we even care what others think? What about those people who are different? Who dare to walk to a different beat? Who are completely content with their unusual lives? I want to say that I don’t care what others think or that I am different. But I do. Deeply. What others think of me has always matter to me. Profoundly. I am a people pleaser.
I also sometimes wonder if guilt doesn't push me to be so normal. Guilt of bringing Bella into our lives which took me out of my children's lives for so long. How fiercely I love my Bella! But oh the guilt my mother's heart holds for all that time I was gone and they had to grow up alone. Am I compensating? When is enough and how do I forgive myself?
Perhaps that is my next major lesson to learn in life. To be me - only me, not what I should be and not "normal". Perhaps Little Brother will help me progress to this next level. Progression. It’s a thrilling and exhausting ride. Whatever is coming, I hope that I can hold on. I hope that when it is all over, there is One that I have pleased.