I really enjoy being a Mama. It is a brutal, amazing, humbling, rewarding, life giving, exhausting, beautiful and frustrating calling. Even when it's hard I am so grateful for the opportunity, the experience and the serious spiritual/character development motherhood has brought to my life.
And I as I stand at the end of my 30s, looking at the not-so-little people growing up before my eyes I am struggling with this being 'it.' Am I really done with Kindermusik, smocked dresses, finger paints and preschool soccer forever?
We never intended to stop having children after the triplets. I declined the suggested tubal during my C-section because we were open to God blessing us with a spontaneous pregnancy. (That's what we fertility veterans call old-fashioned 'natural' conception that doesn't require intervention.) But as a result of my heart failure, a subsequent pregnancy was forbidden by multiple doctors. I have a greater than 50% chance of recurrence with a more devastating prognosis--including death--from pregnancy.
I am an advocate for foster kids and have been actively involved in ministries supporting them since before my children were born. I mentor, transport and love on foster kids--but it has not been a call my husband and I have felt yet for parenting them in our home. Several years ago we even attended the training to be approved, only to discover at that time we were disqualified by the number of small children we already had. That door (for now?) is closed.
As I've experience 'the itch' for another off and on, while not having the certainty of a mutual calling within my marriage, it has led to some soul searching about my motives for 'wanting' another.
The answers have often been an interesting look into the condition of my heart.
After our journey through infertility, a complicated pregnancy and a highly unusual baby stage I just wanted a chance to raise one and enjoy the ride a bit more than the 'drinking from a firehose' experience I had with triplets. It just seems so idyllic.
Recently I was talking to my husband about my renewed interest in a toddler (because, honestly, I am too old for middle of the night feedings and require 8-9 hours sleep.) As we were discussing my desire, I tearfully confessed I just wanted another chance--a do-over--a chance to put into practice the 1000s of lessons I have learned so far.
My husband, with great wisdom and tenderness, looked right in my eyes and said, "It's not too late with the three God has given us."
And I realized he was right. I have no idea what God has in mind for our family down the road, but for now, we are five. And instead of escaping the hard days TODAY by overly romanticizing what a do over might look like. I must accept the reality, subsequent children would have their own bend. We would have to learn them--and in the process relearn ourselves--through the assured sanctification each trip down the road of parenthood requires.
I have a beautiful life with people I adore. My boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.
As if on cue, I came across this quote last night:
Wherever you are in your parenting journey, be Present in it. Embrace today and savor where you're at." -Rachel Anne Ridge" via Twitter
And so, on this gorgeous Saturday, I will embrace the Legos that now cover our old train table, the comic books that have taken over the board books, and the smelly socks that I wash now instead of smocked john johns.
I get to sleep through the night, have delightful conversations about the differences in red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons. My children can help around the house. We go on adventures and travel pretty light. They tie their own shoes and wipe their own bottoms. Most of the time, they love me well. There are many gifts to this season.
This is my God ordained life--and when I pause to really drink it in instead of missing it by daydreaming about something else-- it is good.