Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Sunday, September 06, 2015
For years, years, actual years and years (!) I had a one track mind relegated to the restrictive confines of The Baby Express. The facts I can now rattle off regarding the reproductive systems of human beings, oy vey. If you're not the medical type, they may cause your cheeks to grow rosy. I learned a lot. Mainly, that my husband and I are physically incapable of producing any more Deutschkins with chromosomes of our own unless we laid down endless wads of cash to do so and maybe not even then.
Most importantly I learned that no matter how many children you have, Infertility when you desperately want to conceive is a cruel, wretched monster of a creature, indifferent to your pain and quiet, monthly, teary eyed, sorrowful suffering. I despise her and mourn for anyone who has crossed her path or resides within her crippling grip. Woeful is the woman who longs to bear a child. For her, little else on earth matters.
So, it happened. On a snowy day last winter I toppled over the hill and began the tumble toward what lies a good six feet beneath. Hello, 40! Bring on that midlife baby!
Only we weren't ready. We decided to give our existing roommates some personal space to claim as their own by remodeling their shared rooms into virtual kid sanctuaries where they could carve out a small piece of individuality within the square footage we gleefully refer to as home. That took most of the winter.
Then, we opted for a Summer of Fun where we would squeeze every ounce of adventure and activity into one three month span. Embarrassing dorks for parents that we are, we actually called it that, Summer of Fun. Over and over we reminded the 13 and under crowd that we were having a Summer of Fun, dammit. You WILL ENJOY YOURSELVES or THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES, dammit. We are having fun, dammit! Aren't we having fun, kids? Oh, yes we are! Rah, rah, rah!
We really did. There were a bunch of outings and quite a few firsts and some camping and short hotel stays and a lot of bonding time and really, it was fun.
As The Summer of Fun drew to a close, our thoughts began to turn toward the construction of what would be the baby's room - converting the small, open home office into a bedroom. (A wall, a window, a door, new texture and paint on the walls.) Only by then I knew - my thoughts had been shifting for a while - I no longer felt compelled to foster a baby.
My oldest baby was turning 14. 14! That meant there were only 4 blessed, little, itty bitty, teeny tiny years until she would be a legal adult (still living under our roof until she is 35, of course, but an adult nonetheless.) She and I are so very close. We play games together and ride bikes and talk and talk and talk and she is a dear friend to me. All those years when we were welcoming babies and adopting kids and busy, busy, busy, too busy to adequately breathe deeply started to slow where she and I sincerely have some focused time we can spend together and it was sublime to the point of magical.
Soon after she is 18, Onxy will be. And so on. We welcomed them in a cluster and if we do our jobs well so they are prepared for the great big and wonderful world of vast opportunity that lies before them we will see them go in a cluster, year by year.
What would it mean if I allowed myself the space to set the pace in my life at a speed that wasn't mock 90 with my colored-over-greying hair on fire?
What if I savored these precious, fleeing years with my young people while they're still here?
What if I didn't devote myself wholly to another mother's children to care for as my own to possibly relinquish into her arms after our time was through? *
What if I just.....didn't?
As the days and months rolled on, I became more and more comfortable with the idea of just not doing it, of letting myself off the hook of endless advancement where I don't feel the need to drive so hard forward.
It's foreign territory to me, not continually dwelling in The Land of the Perpetual Next. But the longer I do it, the more I come to terms with the notion of being fully present right where I am - satisfied, full and complete with being exactly here, just as things are. (Except for they're always changing. But that's another set of skills to be developed on another day. Note to self: Learn to accept change.)
So, we redid the room anyway. It's now a bonus room. Or rec room. Or den. Or kids' room. Or whatever you'd like to call it. It's just not the baby's room.
And for the first time in a fistful of seasons filled to the brim with hope dashed, I find myself content with that.
May my joy be full as I find it within the pockets of the life I already possess.
For as it stands today, the reality of my existence is more than I could have ever hoped for.
I'm not even kidding.
*Disclaimer: This is not at all, whatsoever about foster parents who are currently or have ever provided a home for children under their care. It is purely about myself thinking through my own time constraints, desires and life. I have nothing but the utmost respect for foster parents everywhere who selflessly give their hours tending to children born to another. It's a tremendous feat for the compassionate brave few who are willing to walk in mighty shoes. Foster parents make the world a better place, literally, hourly, sacrificially.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Speaking of the Life of Luxury I effortlessly lead, you may or may not remember all that pitiful pining I whined about over a minivan to call my very own. 6 years of pumping gas by the hogshed and parking the maxi van beyond the outer rim of civilization to ensure I could pull in and out without scraping the side of some luckier woman's sleek and tiny minivan was plenteous enough. I've tasted life driving The Big Dog Vehicle. And though I could peer over your head and watch you pick what you thought no one could see from my nosebleed vantage point, (which may have served to feed some sick pleasure deep within) there were no other advantages to lugging the monstrosity around for every little errand I run. Especially now that I don't necessarily take each one of my charges everywhichwhere I go. Now, dear friends, you may dig away in those nostrils resting assuredly in the certainty that I can not observe because Mama Has A Minivan! (Holla!) My Honda Odyssey seats 8 so as long as we leave big daddy behind the chiltlins and I can cruise town all sexy like. It's recycled so to speak - once totaled then repaired which makes my green crunchy self jump up and down all over the refurbished seats. I love it so much, I openly covet. When a friend posted a photo of her Ferrari I scoffed and shook my head. Honey, what choo got aint no minivan....
Summer has kept us all kinds of crazy busy recreating the way we lavish Deutsch people do. You know, staying in MOtels with actual OUTdoor swimming pools, camping in tents, playing in lake water and calling it "bath time," spending $50 in yogurt to claim our free library reading program prizes, etc. It's basically been a blast and then all these people come around rushing me everyhwere. Like messages in my inbox, ONLY 5 WEEKS OF SUMMER LEFT and the school supplies rudely shoving their way onto the shelves once filled with blow up rafts for sparkly pools. Um, premature much? To that I say, Shut the Full Cup. We aren't ready. The sun is shining. The air is warm. The days are lazy and fun and free and spontaneous and school can go, go, go away.
Which reminds me of the kids' testing results we received at the end of last year. Now, I never claimed to be teacher of the year by even the most flexible stretch of the wildest of imaginations. But let me say this to all the naysayers who wonder how in the H*E double hockey sticks we manage to pull this gig off. Our kids, they did well. Very well. With zero actual preparation with regard for what would actually be on the tests, because I had zero idea what would actually be on the actual tests. They swished it, all of them, even our most academically challenged child scored on par with national standards while the rest were far above. They did it spending a mere fraction of the time they would in a conventional school environment with oodles of hours to pursue interests of their choosing. My heart, it was full and happy and validated. Personally, I'm a kind of massive fan of folks being able to choose their own paths according to their individual belief systems, situations, aptitudes, goals and desires, so long as they are not hurting anyone else in the process. In educational opportunities....and elsewhere. At this juncture, homeschooling is pretty much a rock star at our house. It's almost as big as the little minivan...
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
At Roundup River Ranch. For freeeeeeeeeee! Compliments of Paul Newman's foundation and lots of generous doners. For kids with chronic illnesses (Flint) and on certain designated weekends, their whole family (the rest of us). So much fun. Such high quality provisions in every way. Grateful, we are!