4.18.2014

making room for gray area

I keep making the promise to myself to write more. Like I used to, when the words flowed way more freely because virtually no one knew about this little space. Not that this blog is large by any stretch of the imagination, but these days I know people other than my husband are reading it and with that comes this little voice in my mind that says be careful what you write. I've been writing for most of my life. While other children colored, I "wrote" little illegible stories about dogs and cats and somehow, over the years, this morphed into morose teenage prose and then into this. This being, of course, a "mommy blog." And while my role of mommy brings to me to crafts and experiences from the perspective as a parent, I'm finding myself second guessing what should be considered appropriate for this space. What would, let's say, the people who check into this space for tot school updates say about my hormonal abreaction about whatever is going on in my heart at the moment? But I also know that before I was a mom, I was a writer. Before I was a blogger, I was a writer. I also know that it's slow suicide with a heart like mine to keep the words cramped up in my brain until they dissipate. Enter my promise to write more. Just as I can dig into a box in my closet and read the teenage words about the way a fourteen year old boy who smelled of tobacco and Altoids managed to break my heart into shards of nothingness, I want to be able to look back at this space one day and remember. Remember the things that fell behind the milestones and doctor appointments and moments I actually documented with my sorely neglected DSLR.

On my heart lately is babies. Having them, adopting them. People are quick to ask you how many children you plan on having and I've realized once they learn you're having one of each sex, they are quick to ask if you're "done now." Like there's some common goal that's been reached and anything else is just an over-achievement. I come from a small family -- a painfully small family. I was almost eleven by the time my only sibling was born and while I am close with her now -- as close as a married almost-thirty year old with a kid can be with a responsibility-less teenager -- there's still an ache. That ache of wishing I could have called my sister first to tell her I was pregnant and have her be excited for me, of wishing I could call her when I was stressed and have her understand and offer advice, of wishing we could raise our children together and create something else my family doesn't do well: cousins. My sister and I both were essentially only children and it's hard to feel a connection with someone on a friend level when you're nagging them like an exhausted parent to remember their house key, their wallet, hurry up, you're going to be late for dance. I have always wanted to remedy this. I have wanted to give my children the gift of a sibling they could actually relate to, grow up with; that sort of friend for life everyone else seems to have. I've also always said I wanted four children. Four. In my head I can see the family photos, the house filled with chaos and kids and friends and sleepovers and chauffering to lessons and playdates. I have always wanted to adopt two children, specifically from Haiti, and the older I get the more I understand the financial undertaking that is international adoption and it's frustrating. I may not be able to scrounge up a cool $60k in cash up front, but I think I can give two kids a pretty awesome life. I think my heart has more than enough love to give.

My husband is adamant that we are done when people inquire. On one hand, I agree. While this pregnancy has been significantly easier than my last (please knock on wood for me as you read that statement), I couldn't imagine my body going through this again. And while my husband isn't opposed to my adoption plan, he's more of a realist than I am when acknowledging the financial aspect that I tend to leave behind on my journey through la la land about adding two sweet little ones to our family because in my heart, they belong here, with us. Then there is the fact that we're only twenty eight years old and giving either of these plans a definite axing seems unfair and unrealistic. We're too young to make that call. In five years, I'll be the same age as most of the other people I know who are just settling down and having their first children. Who is to say things won't be different? Who is to say the timing won't be right just then? It's impossible. We're sort of stuck in this place of limbo between definitely done and most likely done and then there is that adoption cloud sort of hanging there. I've always wanted to have two and adopt two and now that I'm pregnant with that second one, the adoption plan sort of pings at my heart a little. It's brought to the forefront.

Of course, let's get real for a few minutes (something I'm not good at). We live in Southeast Florida. Everything is infinitely more expensive. For what we paid for our shoebox-sized home, we could easily own a gigantic home elsewhere in the country (or, heck, county). Life is expensive in general, and life is expensive here. Would I be willing to relocate? No. The reason my husband works his tuchus off and why we chose this home in the first place is because of the schools we're zoned for. I have a child who is a little more than two years away from Kindergarten. I have hand picked the elementary school I wanted to send him to and, by the miraculous power of a short sale home at age 22, made it happen. I don't want to take those opportunities away from him, or this other little one kicking up a storm in my belly. This is important to me. Their education is important to me. And while I couldn't care less if they pursue college (like my husband) or a trade or art (like me), these schools are why we worked so hard and pushed from such a young age to get here. I'm not willing to give that up. And then I get it, why my parents had so many years between my sister and I: because sometimes, even when it flat-out sucks, you have to be realistic. Reality can be such a buzz kill sometimes, especially for a control freak like myself who just can't function in life without a solid plan.

I know all of the old adages about if it's meant to happen, it will, and the like. They're all as valid, if not moreso, than my frustration in a vague future. In my heart, I don't feel like our family is truly done. Maybe my mind will change once I hold our daughter in my arms for the first time, but even when I swore Ethan was going to be an only child, I knew he wasn't. I torture myself watching documentaries on Haitian adoption and knowing that one day, a child will be born to someone but he or she will be our son or daughter. I think I'm good at being a mom. I think that as much as I insist I wouldn't want our children to share rooms and a third child would simply erase our tot school space, I just don't know what it's like to share a room with a sibling. I only got to share a home with my sibling for seven years.

When people ask, I usually say that, yes, we're more likely done. But in my heart, I feel as if I'm lying. I guess I need to learn to say I don't know without having a miniature breakdown in the process because, the honest truth? The honest truth is I don't know. And I need to somehow learn to live with that.

2 comments:

  1. I have been going through the same thing you are.. I don't want to be done, but realistically I need to be. I have days where that feels okay and others where it breaks my heart. Adoption is not an option for us, but surrogacy might be. It's a very powerful internal battle to have.. And makes me want to live in dreamland where I could have the 3 I wanted. I'm so sorry you are struck with these feelings! It's so hard growing up. Also, my only sister is 12 years older than me. I sometimes resent the fact that I was robbed of having a sibling close to my age. Hang in there, everything will work out.

    Katie @ Being Dawson's Mom

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  2. Lindsay @ youaretheroots.comApril 19, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    I completely understand everything you said! I love my sister to the moon and back, but sometimes it's hard to step back and realize she's not my child and instead my sibling. With the age gap, it's hard to share an actual friendship with her and I often get unreasonably upset about that, too. To me, having a sibling to count on would be more magical than Disney World!


    It's so much easier to live in dreamland, isn't it?!

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