17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
At playgroup we were talking about "how many kids are you gonna have?" It seems like a lot of my girlfriends have (or at least had) very specific "goals" as far as the number of children they are/were going to have. I use the past tense because a variety of circumstances has changed that number for many of them. In most cases I believe the number has gotten smaller, due to infertility, uncontrollable circumstances, and the fact that motherhood is "not a picnic" (as I uttered over and over again while birthing my first...where that phrase came from, I have no idea).
I have never been one of those women who had a plan. If someone would have asked me point blank: How many kids are you going to have, I would have probably said: "I don't know". If pressed, I would say "at least 2?" with a questioning lilt in my voice. Ever since I heard my friends proclaim: "I am having _ kids" I started to question why I had never made such a plan.
When I had one kid, and my friends with one kid got pregnant, I questioned whether or not I should be pregnant too. Brandolyn, Carrie and Michelle are the ones I am watching now because they have kids close in age to mine. Brandolyn's are a little older so I don't feel total pressure to be pregnant, but when I found out she was expecting, I had to take a moment and think. I have found myself observing other peoples' plans to see if I want to go down that road.
I am in agony many times trying to answer the question: When is my family complete? (much like Katie's post). For about a year I was convinced that one was it. Now I have two, and I love my second child, and I feel like I should probably have a third. The scary thing is that I don't know whether or not I am going to want a fourth...and then what about a fifth? I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility that I have to allow or deny a soul to come to the earth. I have been given the gift of a young, strong, healthy body and the ability to give life, so is it selfish if I only want 2 kids? When the last child comes, will I always wonder....if I had just had one more...?
And then today I looked back at my baby girl and I started thinking about my childhood, and Dr. Robin and Oprah and I realized that I never made a plan because although beautifully mended, the beginning of my family life and childhood was broken. And family and security became a fleeting thing. And it was just my mom and her two girls. And my sister and I do not look alike, and though I do not regard them as half, my half bro and sis look a lot like our Dad, and I felt so much a part of the family and sometimes so alone.
And I looked into my baby's eyes and saw my 4-year-old daughters eyes. And I observed the gap in her teeth and then pictured my 4-year-old daughters gap in her teeth that they both got from their Dad. And I realized that both of my girls have my eyes and my husband's teeth and they have the same toes and feet which are a combination of my husband and mine. And I realized that our family is NOT broken, and it will NOT break. And I am free to create whatever I want, however I want, and whatever that is, it is going to be amazing and beautiful, and we are all going to be a part of each other. And it took the obvious genetic connection for me to see that, though it isn't really about a genes at all.
So now when the crazy pontifications, and questions, and confusions come creeping in about "how many kids should I have"...I am just going to look at those eyes, those teeth, that dimple and those earlobes and realize that I have created something. I will nurture that, and perhaps add, but never take away.