Sunday Morning, the first week in January, the beautiful sound of rain outside. Fresh, wet, rain soaking our parched ground. The sound of cartoons in the kitchen and the smell of sausage and waffles inside the walls of my home. I glanced over the registration packet sent to me from our school district this morning. It gave a list of documents I need, birth certificate, immunization records, proof of residency, I started to panic but saw it’s not due until March. I worried I wouldn’t be able to find Jack and Fiona’s birth certificates, even though I know they are locked in a safe. My anxiety always creeping in.
“Were we in your stomach when you were a little kid?” Fiona asked me yesterday.
“No, you were nowhere” I told her.
“There was a time you didn’t exist, a time I didn’t exist. There will be a time we won’t exist again” I said.
I tried to explain the cycle of life to my almost five-year old’s. I still don’t know if they understand.
The question about if they were in my stomach comes up often. I try to move away from the topic gracefully. Yesterday they asked again when we were driving on our way to see my new art show.
“That’s a story we will have when you are older and can understand” Alan said.
I liked that, that was an honest answer. I struggle with those questions. Even though it’s a miracle that Jack and Fiona exist.
Filling out Kindergarten registration forms is something every parent must do no matter how they had their kids. I had a call recently by a friend who has struggled to get pregnant. She finally got that dreaded talk from her doctor. The one that makes your legs go weak.
“You can not get pregnant or carry a child in your uterus”
As she told me her experience, I remembered my own so clearly. It’s devastating to hear those words. I felt guilty as she confided in me and asked questions about next steps. Steps my husband and I took after my body was no longer an option. Because those next steps were expensive and just as difficult and stressful as all the other steps before. There was nothing I felt I could say that was comforting or easy. The only idea I had for her was to become a foster parent. I had just seen a call in our area for foster parents, there was a desperate need.
The other thing I wanted to say to my friend was that it’s not the end of the world to not have kids. But I held back.
Once you get past infertility and have kids the task of parenting becomes the same daily to-do’s for everyone. Taking care of kids, a family. It’s a job. It takes you away from other things in your life and pushes you to your maximum like nothing else. It’s a struggle. Sometimes I wonder, why did I put myself through all of that to become a parent?
Now I sit with Kindergarten registration papers in front of me.
I took my kids to the gallery where I’m in a group show now and the gallery owner, who has known me, and my kids for several years commented on how calm they were. They didn’t run up and down the halls, they didn’t kick the white gallery walls leaving foot prints, they didn’t get me kicked out like they had once in the past. They looked at the artwork, they stayed close and held my hand, they listened and didn’t complain.
Last night, I told them “Thank You for supporting me as an artist and coming to see my art show”.
Having kids, creating a family, no matter how you do it has many blessings. I can’t deny that. In the pushing emotions and physical capabilities to the maximum, I think it enriches my life in more ways than I will ever know.
Now that Jack and Fiona are turning five, they will be in grade school in the fall, I will have more hours in the day where it’s just me again. I will have that coveted alone time that I have sometimes almost gone crazy not having since they have been born. It’s sort of unbelievable.