My youngest son has a loose tooth. At first I started to protest, "He's too young!" And then my oldest (10 1/2) reminded me that he was the same age when he lost his first tooth. I have never been the type of mother to cry over milestones. It makes me proud to watch my sons grow and it is the most exciting thing to me, not only as a mother, but as a human. Each life has locked within it so much potential and mystery. That is the fun of raising children, watching them become whoever they will be. It is most likely the idea that I am done with early childhood milestones that is causing me this grief. It is a position I am not ready to be in.
You see I always wanted a large family. I am the youngest of four. Not a particularly large family, but my extended family was always nearby. There were ten of us cousins growing. I loved the chaos of it all, the huge meals, the endless row of beach towels on the clothes line in the summer. This romantic notion of large families is also probably due to my father's cousin's large brood. She lived twenty minutes away in an old, rambling brick home with a wide porch and dogs sleeping on the lawn. There were children everywhere. Biological, foster, adopted. As a child I would go home and draw not selfishly imagined mansions, but homes big enough to welcome all the adopted children in the world. Or, so my small 8 year old mind assumed.
When we got to the point of seriously considering marriage I asked (both my husbands) if they would consider adopting, if they would like a large family. It was a requirement of mine.
But here I am. 32 and living in my parents' home with my three children from my first marriage and my husband. Although he doesn't really count because he works so much. :) The plan is to eventually buy their property and build our own house back in the woods. This is what my mother wants. She knows without our presence she will have to move into town eventually. But she's quite comfortable where she is, thank you very much. My husband has no children of his own and would like to have a few, when we can afford it. In about 50 years.
And then there is that ever-present yearning that won't go away, to give homes and hope and love to those without. This is, of course, at odds with my dream of traveling around the world and living like a hermit. But that seems a very selfish dream when you consider that a child could have a home and a family. I pray almost daily that God would see fit to let my books be widely successful. Not so I can buy a Jaguar (tho I wouldn't mind a reliable car) or a fancy schmancy home, but so I can afford to build a home here, where I can take care of my mother. So I can afford to build a home large enough for our children and several more who would become ours. It breaks my heart, the waiting. It tears me to pieces to think it may never come to fruition. My children don't have much in the way of material things or weekends and vacays spent at expensive hotels or amusement parks, but they have full and vibrant lives and I ache to share that with those who would otherwise never experience that.
Sorry, I ramble. But the older I get the more it gnaws at me. And I just wanted to share it.