edited: okay, it's been over a week since i started this post. it's taking me forever to sit down and finish it. i wonder if i'm still telling the same story i intended to share...
Sweet Holly, The Marathon Bird, wrote a post that spoke to me yesterday (no, it was not a post about running a marathon. true, i'm "enjoying" running right now. but i am not enjoying running enough to be talking marathons here).
this is a cleverly written, poignent, made-my-heart-hurt muse about adoptive mothering. i wrote, what i thought to be, a clever, poignent, make-your-heart-hurt comment in response. however, my iPhone ate it.
a-hem. so i was trying to rewrite the comment, and it sort of become it's own blog post. but mine is not a post about adoption, or a yearning to have another child.
my post is about the fact that i don't.
i don't want another child.
it's hard for me to tell you that, because it's taken me a while to feel like that's "okay." but i spent an hour with a newborn on my shoulder the other night, and after those sixty minutes, i can tell you, without a doubt, i'm all good.
for most of my life, i've assumed that i would have a "large" family, or at least a family with multiple siblings, such as the one in which i grew up (four girls). my cousins and close friends came from families with multiple children. it was, for me, the "norm." and sometimes, you don't question the norm. you just assume it will be.
i married when i was thirty, and remember more than one person asking me, at our wedding reception, when we were going to "start a family." i won't lie, at the tender age of thirty, i felt some pressure to "start that family" right away. and so, we did.
jack was born when i was thirty-one, within our first year of marriage. it was an unexpected expected pregnancy. we weren't trying to make a baby. but we were newlyweds. (wink, wink). it was exhilarating and terrifying to confirm our pregnancy. it was even a bit embarrassing to begin telling my friends and family. (oh my God, they're going to know we had s.e.x.) i looked forward to ultrasounds and registered for baby things at Target. i ate saltines and took my vitamins. i bought "first" outfits. i played the piano for him and shared his first baby kicks with a hundred hands of friends.
i did not glow. i did not nest. i had migraines and back pain. i squeezed doctors visits into my work schedule. i began to hate the smell of chicken. i decorated a nursery in my mind, but never really got past picking out a crib. and when jack came rushing into this world a month early, i... i took it in stride.
i had maternity leave, but i didn't have a "babymoon." i was in a lot of pain (my back). i spent a lot of time "on the go" with jack. i didn't like to stay home, so jack and i went out for strolls. small town living meant we could stroll. a lot. we visited shop owners, we had lunches with my sisters. we were a one car family at the time, so we often drove mat back and forth to work. i got involved with the local community theatre, and we started a catering business.
my maternity leave was 6 weeks long. on day 43, the hotel called to ask when they could put me back on the schedule. within a year, i was the assistant general manager. it meant putting jack in day care, but it was a great move for me. and? the day care totally took care of the potty training!
and so it has gone, year after year, working and volunteering and playing through days, including jack every step of the way. i never thought, "if we had another child now, jack would be x years old." i never thought, "if we want to have more children, we need to start now." i never thought, "something's missing."
my sisters had babies - sweet little nieces and nephews. every time a new pregnancy was announced, someone asked, "don't you want to have another one?" i would laugh it off. "oh, no... we'll see..."
and inside i was thinking, "i'm glad it's not me."
i don't have it. i don't have a longing for another child. i honestly cannot imagine living through the two hour sleep cycles, the diapers, the car seats and strollers, the breastfeeding, the bottle feeding, the incessent schlepping of "stuff." i can't imagine deciphering cries and moans and outbursts. i can't imagine scheduling life around nap time.
i love my ten year old. i love his budding independence. i love the free(er) time that affords me. it is not "the norm."
it is "MY norm."