Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. And my son is as wonderful as he is challenging. He has changed my life: my relationships, my marriage, my home, my body, even my perception of who I am. Now that he's three and I'm "pushing 40" as my dear friend likes to say, I am at a crossroads. I always wanted a child, but do I want children?

My husband and I have discussed, arranged, made lists, made promises, made threats regarding whether to have a second child. It's such an illogical decision, I've found, because there seem to be more logical reasons not to have another: our meager finances, small house, dwindling time and energy, out-of-town families and limited community resources (babysitters and all that). Most of the time, I feel stretched to my limit caring for just one child. And when I think back on my miserable first trimester, the difficult birth, the rough (to put it mildly) infancy with an up-all-day-and-all-night, fussy baby...ugh, do I really want to do it all again?

And that's when I start to think of doing it differently next time. Next time, I probably won't have to give birth five days after evacuating my home and watching my city sink underwater after a major hurricane. Next time, I probably won't be learning to be a mother in a friend's home, uncertain about the status of my own. Next time, I'll have so much more going for me: experience, confidence, my own bed. I know nothing is guaranteed, but this new person will have a family to join: a brother, parents, a home. And I'll be different, because I already am. I know better how to set limits before mine have been crossed. I know better how to ask for what I need. I know better how to enjoy the tiny moments of peace, of love, of divine joy.

That's what it's really about, isn't it? Discovering my capacity for joy, heartache, love, and frustration, feeling my boundaries stretching to encompass more emotion and experience than I thought possible. How flexible am I? Can I be big enough to embrace this hovering spirit I feel calling to me? Someone is there, waiting to call me mama, and sometimes I think all I have to do is say Yes, come to me, I'm ready.

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