As far back as I can remember, my reveries included a child in my arms. As a little girl, I spent collective chunks of time that would extend far beyond months and even years “housekeeping” and taking care of my baby dolls. Even as a high school girl, I would wander through the aisles of baby clothing at the department stores (sometimes with my dear friend, Chris, who somehow shared this passion), “window shopping,” and looking forward, hopefully, to what would be many blessings one day. Unlike that of most of my peers, my ideal Saturday night was a long evening of babysitting a vast tribe of very young children (for perhaps seventy-five cents an hour, but I would have done it for nothing, to be sure).
Though I was certainly forced to watch horrifying and graphic films of crashes and matched to “student drive” through the mazes of traffic lights, pylons, triangle intersections and barriers, and even through a few near-death experiences alongside a perfect-driving football player partner, what I remember most about driver’s education was our simultaneous revelation, in the basement of Benet Academy, that Chris and I were “almost twenty.” We may have known what life was all about.
Nearly two and a half times twenty, that is my burning question as I try my best to quiet the voices of my imminent middle age. I had looked forward to motherhood even from my own childhood so, when I discovered (at twenty four, fresh out of graduate school) that my first baby was on the way, it was an easy decision to “retire” from my beloved job as a preschool special education teacher, so that I could take on the role of mother at home.
Along with my young mother friends, I embraced this freedom and spent many hours with my little sons knitting, baking, walking through the arboretum, sleeping soundly with a content little boy at my side, studying Waldorf education, playing in the sand piles, making jams and canning tomatoes, exploring neighborhood parks, and, perhaps most memorably, whiling away hours at the Chocolate Moon cafe. No wonder my young men cherish their coffee.
I look back on this time of immense peace with my children and think that there were many moments where I felt caretaking to be intense and challenging. It was then that I turned to those closest to me for support and reassurance. I often wondered what my future decades would hold, because my highest dreams directed me to those very days. One moment that will forever be with me: Maureen, whom I trusted with my heart and aspired to mirror, asked a question that had also been asked of her: “isn’t that enough?” I mean, what we were doing, and where we were; wasn’t that enough?
There were some turns along the way. The little boys grew, and more children became part of our family. Dan and I became foster parents, and thus days of cookies and playing at the park often became swirls of angst, attempts to dodge misdirected anger, and shared grief over questions for which there really are no answers. The often torrential chaos of my current days, though, is enough to assure me that right now, being here, is enough.
My high school English teacher once told me that when I fell and scraped my knee, I should first write about it, then bleed. Many falls later, I have finally decided to put pen to paper on a regular basis. I have a journey to share; one of motherhood, blessings, trials, passion, and the gifts of each ordinary day. Isn’t that enough?