Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Foster Baby's Room That Wasn't

In my family we've long known that if I couldn't (wouldn't, didn't) become pregnant with a wee little Deutschkin by the time my ovaries shriveled up like prunes I turned 40, we would apply to become foster parents with the ultimate intent of adopting a wee little Deutschkin. Duh. The whole wide world was aware of my obsession with desire for just one more bundle of cooing, pooing joy.

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.

{The office as it was}
{From the outside looking in (my EO cabinet is now brown)}
My husband is the bee's knees.

*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. 

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