Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Finish Line

Scribbit's Write Away topic this month is The Finish Line. My first thought was, "Holy crap. I'm stuck right in the middle of just about everything right now. There is no finish line." Then I dug down deep. What follows is what's found deep in the bowels of The Good Flea. Um, enjoy?

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I really am eye-balling a finish line of sorts, whether I realized it previously or not. Hunny and I have been married 17 years this weekend (no, not THAT finish line - we're happier now than we've ever been). Maybelline will be 16 in May (the math works out - I checked). Oatmeal Head turns 15 at the end of April (yes, they're less than a year apart - yes, I planned it that way - yes, I've considered committing myself to the closest psychiatric hospital, but wound up working there instead). Little Guy will be 12 in June.

Do you see it? Do you see the picture? Three children in four years, beginning a year after the wedding. We've been mom and dad nearly half our lives now. Never really newlyweds. It's only the last year we've begun to get to really know each other. And the light at the end of this tunnel? Two teenagers soon to be college bound.

Stop raining on my parade. I know college is expensive, that I'll worry about them, that weddings will be around the corner. I also know I'll have my home and my man to myself, not again, but for the first time (we lived with his parents till Maybelline was born). I know we'll finally connect without the constant company of children. My aunt is ten years my senior, kids all in college or married. I know what lies ahead. One of my finish lines. Successfully getting the kids out of the house, independent of us, us free of them, to some degree.

And then ... wait, before the "and then", I have to 'splain something. After having Little Guy, the Hunny was Fixed. We were still young (only 30), our marriage and lives were going very poorly, we saw no future different than our present. So we stopped the kid-making process dead in its tracks. Here I was, the girl who'd always wanted at least six kids (all boys), stopping at three. The woman who, when homeschooling and people would ask how many kids I had, responded with, "Only three" (that's a funny thing to say in homeschool circles). The woman who only ever wanted to be a wife and mother. And writer. And actor. And artist. But really? A wife and mother. Stopped at three.

As life changed, the Hunny went back to school, our marriage improved, stuff happened. We discussed things over time, like reversing the vasectomy, or adopting more children. It was a very serious discussion at times, but never were both of us on the same page. Or we couldn't see a way to make it happen financially. Finally, about two years ago, just before turning 40, I gave up. Done. Time to move forward and not think about it anymore.

Besides, our three children are older now, needing us in new and different ways. Why on earth would we bring babies into the mix at this point?

So here I am, staring intently at a finish line, starting back to school for a master's, working part time for the first time in over a decade and loving it, joining a writer's group, moving forward in earnest, and Hunny sends me a little email from his employer:

"... in order to support employees who are adoptive parents, we are pleased to announce that
adoption assistance benefits will be available to all full-time, benefits-eligible employees effective January 1, 2009. Under this program, employees may submit a claim for reimbursement of eligible expenses they incur when adopting a child under age 18. Eligible expenses include items such as legal and court costs, adoption agency fees and travel expenses to complete the adoption.

We recognize that employees may need time off to complete the adoption and bond with their child. Therefore, in addition to financial reimbursement, our adoption benefits policy will include up to 12 weeks of leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)."

Oh my. This is most definitely the "and then". Why on earth now? Why was he sending this to me? Why? I'm going back to school, dammit! For a master's in theology, dammit! (oops - probably shouldn't cuss here) A baby ... well a baby would just set me back. I CAN SEE THE STINKIN' FINISH LINE, FOR PETE'S SAKE.

Then I got to thinking, which sometimes happens. Am I being selfish? Is life really all about me? Am I depriving some child of a life with a real family and mom and dad? I thought lots of other things, too, but I won't bore you with those, as I hadn't taken my meds that day and most of them pertained to spots on the ceiling or wondering what was in the freezer that would make a good dinner.

What it all boils down to, I guess, is that life isn't all about me. Or adoption. Or even my Hunny. Quite frankly, I don't know for sure what life is all about. But I do know what I have to do. A friend of mine calls this the passive Christian no, which is, I have to pray about this. But it's not a "no" for me. There have been times I've prayed about stuff like this and God has definitely said "NO". When I wanted Him to say yes. And He's changed my heart and life in the process. There have been other times when He's been all, "Yeah! That's a great idea! Do it!". Like moving to Tulsa.

Those times, when He's said yes, have been the times the little girl in me could stretch up on tiptoes and put my arms around Daddy's neck and give Him a big kiss, tears rolling down my cheeks. He loves me. I can look back now at the no and see He's changed ME instead of my circumstances. Totally rocks. Totally sucked at the time.

I don't know what this will be. Personally, I'm pulling for a life without anymore babies, at least till grandbabies come along. But I know I can trust Him with whatever decision is made. That I'll have a part in the making of the decision.

If you're a praying person, please offer up a few words on our behalf? Because if this happens? A whole new finish line. You're the best, bloggy friends.

Until I write again ...

Flea

33 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

Wow. I totally understand having your eye on the finish line, but, wow. The Universe is saying something. Or whispering. Just watch.

jeni said...

Oh, wow! How exciting! I will be praying. Whatever the outcome may be, He's birthing something inside you. :) Love you!

asthmagirl said...

Wow. I wonder what the outcome will be.
The old goat and I have been married 28 years and our oldest daughter is 27, so I know how it is not to have much honeymoon time. But because we spread the rest out, our youngest is just finishing highschool. I can see the finish line too!

You know, if you decide to move forward, you could always adopt an older child... someone who would be very happy to finally have a family!

Coffee Bean said...

Well... you know... there are tons of older children that need homes.

We, too, have been on that road. Once even going so far as to start the paperwork. Neither of us have been on the same page in that regard in some time... but, we started very young. We have talked about maybe adopting an older sibling group when ours are out of the house.

Trisha said...

So much stuff is running around in your head! I will pray for you to find peace and resolution - whatever it is!

Robin said...

Big decisions indeed. It's funny, I've been married as long as you but we waited a long time to have children so my "finish line" is still many years away. Too far away to even contemplate at this point. It's okay though, we got a lot of it out of our systems first, and I wouldn't do another masters degree for all the money in the world LOL.

Good luck with your decision. I'm sure the right path will become clear in time.

Thanks for visiting Around the Island, and for your kind words there. These are difficult times, but we'll get through. We don't really have a choice.

MUD said...

Having crossed the family "finish line" I am awaiting the start of the grandchildren race. So far I am just waiting but until then I will try to keep my big damn mouth shut about it to the kids. Whatever happens will happen in good time.
MUD

verygoodyear said...

Hi there, following you here from a comment on Damselfly's blog :] It's really amazing that your husband's employer is offering that kind of encouragement for people to adopt, and I'm sure it's got to be a pretty intense decision for you to be trying to make at this point.

You don't need to adopt a baby -- a lot of older kids are out there looking for a loving home as well. I have always felt for those foster children around 12 years old who are not only about to enter the craziest roller coaster period of their life, but don't have a supportive home environment to help them along.

You two will make whatever decision is right for you at this time in your life. It might not be the same as one you would have made 10 years ago, and that's just fine.

tara said...

holy curveball!

Candace said...

Wow! Who says it would have to be a baby? Not that you aren't gifted with babies, but from what I have seen/read you are raising wonderful children, so any age would be blessed with you and your family. How exciting and terrifying to consider. When you finally think you have an answer and have accepted it, there comes a twist. I will be praying for you and your family.

Tammy said...

I think adoption is a great thing if that is what you both want to do. I have a sister and a brother who are both adopted and to tell you the truth they are my favorite siblings. Shh...don't tell my other siblings that.

Gilit Frank said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love your style of writing - funny but serious. (I liked the cannibal joke in your profile too - did you make it up?) I think you will be a great grandmother and don't have to feel pressure to adopt if it's not the right thing. But I am sure that you know the answer deep inside of you.

Daryl said...

Not a praying person but I am one of those believers in fate. And if there's a kidlette out there meant for you .. he/she will find you

Karate Mom said...

Wow! I'll be praying!

Nipper said...

I'm so excited for you! You might remember that foster care/adoption has been on my heart for many years. Approaching the finish line with my own TMNT, I'm really looking forward to bringing another munchkin' head into my home, especially since I've learned so much about parenting - why let it go to waste? However, like you, my decision hinges on whatever God wants. So I will pray for you and would appreciate your prayers for me. Crazy people like us need lots of prayer.

Oh - and don't forget that there is a tax credit for adoption expenses - upto $5000 of whatever the employer doesn't pay. However, foster care adoptions are much less expensive - that'll be my route.

Nipper said...

I'm so excited for you! You might remember that foster care/adoption has been on my heart for many years. Approaching the finish line with my own TMNT, I'm really looking forward to bringing another munchkin' head into my home, especially since I've learned so much about parenting - why let it go to waste? However, like you, my decision hinges on whatever God wants. So I will pray for you and would appreciate your prayers for me. Crazy people like us need lots of prayer.

Oh - and don't forget that there is a tax credit for adoption expenses - upto $5000 of whatever the employer doesn't pay. However, foster care adoptions are much less expensive - that'll be my route.

Edna said...

Ahhh ... good post. I will be interested in what the finish line brings. When you turn it over to God what happens is good. You just may have to share the clementines with me!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Wow. wow. WOW! You rock. And I will pray too. You and I know that whatever God asks, he will provide the tools. And life if full of endings that are really beginnings, I am excited to see what the next beginning is

Ellyn said...

Praying for a resolution for your family.

Damselfly said...

Wow-ee! This certainly puts a new spin on your life, doesn't it? I know prayer will lead you in the right direction.

Scribbit said...

I still think you have the all-out best pseudonyms for your kids.

The best. :)

Daisy said...

Oh, my - this post's ending was completely a surprise! Whatever you decide, may it be a decision that brings you peace and joy.

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

I had totally forgotten about "damnit" by the time I reached the end...then all I could say was "Holy Crap!"
Love ya Flea.
Sending ((Hugs)) you and Hunny's way.

Karen said...

Flea, I don't know what to say. Sometimes God's plans kinda mess things up for us, don't they? And yet, if it's God's plan we'll be so much happier living it. Wow. I'll keep you guys in our prayers. That's exciting, and scary, and a whole lot to pray about.

Lori said...

Well darn me for not reading this yesterday...I'm emailing you.

Warty Mammal said...

Wishing you the best. This is a toughie. We're looking at a "finish line" around the time we're sixty, and although we're happy with our situation, it is often rocky. I can totally relate to, at a very minimum, needing a breather.

If you haven't had a frank and open chat with your husband yet, it may be in order. Is it the case that he himself wants to adopt a kid (or kids), or is it something he brought up because he thinks you are aching to have another batch of kids?

People can get "meta" about stuff, thinking the other person wants something and then working at cross purposes. "I thought YOU wanted to adopt four kids from Bangladesh." "Oh! I thought YOU did!"

It may also be the case that this is one to file away for a bit. As in, the time may not be right just now, but in a few years you may hear about a kid who needs a home and the way the pieces fit together will then become clearer.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Oh, my goodness! What a very tough decision. I'll certainly be praying for you. And, I get the homeschool point - imagine being an NFP using Catholic with one...

TSannie said...

Daryl has it right, I do think, Flea. But I will offer a prayer up that you find your finish line, whatever it turns out to be. There's no wrong answer here. Though, after 3 kids and in just about the same ages as yours, I said NO to my hubby....

Karen said...

Oh Flea....I know, you know, I have all sorts of thoughts on this.
I am happy to share any information I have. As you know, all four of mine are adopted (private). My sister just younger than me adopted her son as a newborn through the foster care system. Then I have another sister how does foster care and currently is fostering a very sweet 14 year old boy. At some point this sister plans on adopting a couple of older kids.
I guess my point is: the finish line and starting line can be very relative.
I have only one more unsolicited comment. I know from personal experience. God makes families. I have witnessed miracles in my own life, when there should have been no possible way for us to pull off an unexpected adotion.
Which ever way it goes, you are in my prayers.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
imbeingheldhostage said...

You got it sweets-- I will pray. You have closed your eyes to another possibility, maybe this is God's way of tapping you on the shoulder and saying, "Remember this dream?" and maybe it's not about babies, maybe it's about a child that's a little older--therefore the finish line isn't as blurry as you thought.
I know you'll make the right decision for you and your family, you're a good person with a huge heart and whatever direction you go will bring blessings to lives around you.
Keep running!

Debbie said...

Wow Flea....I read a few comments and got to thinking about the older children out there needing foster homes and you working at a psychiatric place, maybe foster parenting would be in the middle? I will keep you in my prayers, hon! God will let you know :)

zobabe said...

AHHH. See, I started this post and got distracted, then never got back to it. I think it's an awesome possibility. Prayers all around, yes. Definitely.