I have tons of kids but I have given birth to no children. Zero, none, notta!!! I have two young ladies who refer to me as “mom”. I work with kids and get to make an influence, hopefully, in their young lives and I send them home with their parents with a smile. Then I go along my merry way, eating cereal for supper because I don’t have to make sure the kids have a balanced meal.
It’s not that I didn’t want children when I was younger. I did. My husband did. It wasn’t meant to be. We prayed about it and God said No. I am a firm believer that God has 3 possible answers when you pray. Yes. No. and Not Now.
We wanted children, we even for a brief time considered adoption but it just never seemed right. So we got a dog. Looking back at it now, I’m not even sure he knew he was a dog. If we had been able to have children. If God’s answer had been yes, I would have been left with a child to raise on my own after my husband transitioned. I know it happens every day and I am sure IF I had been in that place, I would have handled it, but I wasn’t.
I have three great nieces. They are part of my circle. They allow me to be a kid again. They give me a reason to get out and run, to jump on a trampoline, to blow bubbles, to have fun in the most childlike of ways. I am a firm believer we all need play. We need those moments when we forget we are a 46 year old widow, trying to rebuild her life again. To figure out the world as her own person again, not as part of a” married couple”. Things have changed in 20 years. So sometimes, you just need to check out and have fun.
I love all “my girls” but O (I will not put her name), she is 3 years old. My husband only got to hold her twice before he got so weak he couldn’t physically hold her any longer. As I was losing him, I was getting her. The day she arrived, we were just up the street, getting a chemo treatment. We double checked with the cancer docs and the baby docs before he would touch her to make sure there was no way the chemo would harm her. We were assured on every side that there was no way it would transfer to her in any way.
I have a photo of both times he held her. I see her tiny little body being held by this amazing man she would never have the honor of actually knowing. The other girls are old enough to remember him, she will only know him through stories and photos. This is why I love capturing moments. You never know when you will capture those moments that can never be repeated.
In Chapter 2 of my life, O is a little bit older than me. She was 9 months old when my husband transitioned. So as she has been discovering who she is and what the world around her has to offer, I have been shadowing her. I love to watch her explore. When she learns new things, she wants you to know it. When she is cranky, happy, or busy, you know it. She doesn’t care to tell you. She isn’t being mean, she just doesn’t have a filter. You know when she just doesn’t want to be bothered. She has a great personality but is as random as they come. She will sing the same little bit of a song for days. She doesn’t know it all, so she sings what she knows boldly, proudly and loudly. She wants to go with me when I leave her house and I have to sneak away because she won’t take no for an answer.
Our first outing, just the two of us, we went out for ice cream sundaes. As we were riding, we talked about things we saw along the road and sang songs. She never worried about where her mom was. She knew she was safe as humanly possible with me.
As I watched her eating her ice cream sundae, it was like watching a comedy movie. I have photos of her as she is eating with such looks on her face. Looking like that ice cream was the best tasting thing on the planet. I laugh just thinking about it. She was in ice cream Heaven. As adults, how often do we enjoy and savor the act of eating? Are you like me, you are running so hard and fast that you eat in your car, at your desk, wherever you can, whenever you can?? Hanging out with O that day reminded me to slow down once in a while and just enjoy what you are doing at that moment. To be present in the present, that moment will not ever come again.
So I ask you, today, go and play, enjoy an ice cream sundae, if you have children, just hang out with them for a little while and try to see the world from their eyes. You might just be amazed what you will see.