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 ...