I am going to be Someone’s Mother!

I woke up early this morning. (Not something that happens to me, hardly ever!) And I couldn’t go back to sleep so I decided to write a few of my feelings about being a mother. Today makes 31 weeks for me and I find myself counting down and thinking in terms of how many weeks I have left instead of far I am. 9 weeks left and its starting to feel so real.

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30 weeks!

I’ve wanted a baby almost for as long as I can remember. I was 9 when my first baby sister was born. I was so excited. They brought her home from the hospital and my mom let me give her her first bath. She showed me how to steam the bathroom so that it was nice and warm, to check the bath water so that it was just the right temperature for her little body. she showed me how to hold her so that she would be comfortable during the experience. When I was finished I rubbed her little body down with lotion and dressed her in a little pink nightgown. And then I had to hand her off to Mother to be fed and put to bed.

I remember walking down the stairs that day and out to the yard. It was October and my sisters where out playing in a huge pile of leaves. I felt larger than life and overwhelmed by love. I decided right then in that moment that the greatest thing a woman could ever experience was to have a baby and I couldn’t wait to have mine. I sank down into the pile of leaves with my sisters and I told them that I would get married when i was 16 years old. (I knew that, was the earliest possible time that it was legal to be married) and that, I still had 7 years to wait and I didn’t know how I would make it.

When I turned 16, marriage was no where in sight but I did get another little blessing. My niece came into my life and gave me a taste of what it might feel like to be a mom. As I cared for her, got up with her during the night and rocked her until I felt my arms would fall off trying to get her to sleep I felt a swelling within me and a longing like I had never known before. I also felt a sense of peace and satisfaction that I had never known before and I believed that the most meaningful thing that I could ever do in my life would be to be a mother, to care for children, whether I had given birth to them myself or not.

My niece and I

My niece and I

The years continued to go by with marriage never presenting itself as a viable option. I got caught up in school and work and I loved what I was doing. I had great room mates, I was dating, I was having fun. Children started to annoy me a little. They were noisy, often smelly, and they NEVER seemed to stop moving. I loved the easy flow of work in the office, I loved the challenges and the deadlines. It wasn’t messy and chaotic like raising children. It was structured and fulfilling. I felt like a success. I worried that all those years of longing for children were gone and now  by the time I actually had them I wouldn’t want them anymore.

I went to visit an older sister one day. She had 10 children. Before I left her house all of her children got together and sang for me. They had beautiful voices, beautiful faces, but more than anything as I sat watching them, their voices melting perfectly together, the oldest looking somewhat bored and detached and the youngest, her face animated and alive with every word that she sang, I realized that these were human beings, 645 2these were people, lives that my sister had created! They would go on, they had their futures ahead of them! 794she was teaching them, raising them to be good upstanding people. Because of her they would experience all that life had to offer. I saw her love for them reflected in her eyes and I saw an unspeakable bond between mother and child and I KNEW that there was nothing, no work, no experience that I would ever have that would be more fulfilling than that of being a mother.800

But I worried it would never happen for me. That baby sister that I had bathed so carefully had grown up and was a woman now looking to get married herself.

Me with my two grown up, baby sisters.

Me with my two grown up, baby sisters.

I felt old and hopeless. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and marriage seemed so far away. I went to bed one night sobbing and aching for what I thought I might never have. It wasn’t a new experience. I had done that many times over the 15 years I had been waiting for this blessing.

This night however, I dreamed a dream. It shook me, it was more real than anything. It was so special. I dreamed that my son came to me as a strapping young man. He held me while I cried, and encouraged me to hold on, to be patient. He promised he was coming and that it would all be worth the wait. He brought two others with him, but he was the one that really affected me. Whenever I had thought about being a mom I had imagined having a baby. I never imagined a boy taller than I am, handsome and strong. I never imagined him comforting me assuring me that all would be well. He was my hero and Oh I loved him like nothing I had ever experienced. When it came time for him to leave I begged him to stay, but he couldn’t. He promised that it was just around the corner and that I needed to hang on and be patient a little longer.

I woke aching to hold him.

Now, just about two years later I lay here in bed feeling a little body squirming and kicking inside. I feel love so real and tangible for the baby inside of me that I hold my belly loving the feel of having him so close and I cry with happiness. This boy and I who have faced this lonely pregnancy together will soon be going through the birth experience together as well. He has been my rock, my hero. His presence has brought so much peace. My son already feels to me somewhat like the man that I hope he will be one day.

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He is a human being. In about 9 more weeks, he will start his life. He will start his one chance at mortality. He will start making the decisions that will shape his eternity! Nine weeks! I feel overwhelmed that I am his mother. That I am responsible to give him everything he needs to be successful. That I am being entrusted with the fragileness of his new life, of his soul, fresh from heaven.

I feel overwhelmed with Joy that my time has finally come. That one day soon a little person will call me mom. He is the best reason for living that I have ever had, and for the first time in my life I feel that there is someone else that I could live for. That no matter what happened in my own life there was someone else who is more important than anyone or anything in this world. I would live for him, I would die for him. My little Preston has become the center of my universe and my heart is as full as my belly!

Visiting the Oakland Temple

When you are a nanny for a 17 month old, you have plenty of time to think. Conversation isn’t exactly stimulating…

Me: “Hey bud, are you ready to go for a drive?”

Eli: (silence)

Me: “Let’s check your diaper first ok?”

Eli: (still nothing)

Me: “Oh my goodness, you are poopy again!”

Eli: (Little chuckle)

That’s pretty much how my day goes. It’s a little different from talking to yourself…but not much.

So in my moment of reverie, today I learned something about myself. I learned that I want to get married.
Now before you freak out at me for stating what is probably obvious if you know me at all or have even read much of my blog, let me explain.

Today, Eli and I are exploring Oakland Ca. Sitting high on the hilltop overlooking the city is this beautiful structure.  It is an LDS temple,  one of 139 functioning temples spread all over the world. Eli loved the fountains, and running up and down the long sidewalks that bordered the stream. On the roof of the temple is a garden. It’s so beautiful that it really does take you back to old movies depicting heaven or the Garden of Eden. Flowers whose fragrance is so sweet that the warm air carries it to you before you have even leave the stairwell, bloom in perfectly manicured beds. Hydrangea, Cannas, and other flowering bushes and trees are in abundance. A lone gardener in a plain blue uniform is sitting next to one of them meticulously inspecting the bright red flowers growing there.

With nothing but the sound of the wind rushing through the palm trees and Eli’s occasional squeal at something that he has found, I spent most of the afternoon wandering the grounds of the temple.

That’s pretty typical of a day on the road with Eli, we wake up usually at about 8 have breakfast in the hotel by nine and then go swimming, shopping, exploring museums, or whatever else I can find to do until about noon when, after eating lunch, most of which gets left on the table, Eli falls asleep. I sit in the hotel while he sleeps and work on homework, watch tv, or spend way to much time playing angry birds.

In the afternoon when he wakes up we usually look for a park or a garden to go play in until its time for his mother to get off work.

A typical day for me when I am home goes something like this…

I get up around 8. Run some errands, do some scrapbooking, work on homework or go to school depending on the day. Then in the afternoon I go to work where I get to work with boys in a secure facility. I help them with home work, music, or whatever else happens to be going on that afternoon. We have a lot of fun together. Then I go home and check facebook to see what events I’ve got going on that night and plan my evening.

I promise there is a point in telling you all of this. Today after Eli and I finished walking around the temple gardens we went to the visitor’s center. Most of the time I find some of the little video’s that they show in places like that to be a little cheesy. Today I must have been feeling differently because some of the things that they said, literally brought me to tears.

If you have never been to a temple visitor’s center inside the have a number of different displays that explain various things about what we as Mormons believe. One of the displays was a series of rooms that all tell a story. As you enter each room the light comes on and a video starts to play. In the first room there are just a bunch of red rocks and the video starts showing a family hiking along a trail (probably in southern Utah.) One of the children ventures too close to the edge of a cliff and falls. He is saved by a ledge just a few feet down and everyone goes home smiling.

Later that night, the father is sitting on the front porch deep is thought as he listens to his children playing and wrestling inside. His wife comes and talks to him and they discuss how glad they are that their family is all together and that an accident had been averted that day. They talk about remembering what is really important. They talk about how our Heavenly Father put us in families so that we wouldn’t be alone, so that we would belong, and so that we would be happy.

The scene moves on and you watch as babies are born, grandparents die, and other important or not so important events bring this family together. You watch them playing and making memories, you watch them fighting and forgiving, but what really stuck out to me for some reason is that I watched them be together and for the first time I realized that I want a family.

I have always known that I wanted children. But I thought of them as babies, I didn’t think of my children as companions, as grown up teenagers or young adults. I always wanted a husband and knew that, that would erase the loneliness that I feel as a single person, but I never thought of the whole thing together.

A family.

A group of people who you live your life for and with. They are the people you sit around the table with for dinner each night, the people you go camping and hiking with in the summer, the people you fight with sometimes, worry about, celebrate with and enjoy beautiful gardens with. They are the people you build lasting memories and lasting relationships with.

That’s when I realized what I was missing in my life. I realized that I don’t just want to get married so that I can have cute little babies to hold and cuddle, I don’t want to just get married so that I don’t feel stuck and left behind in a life that I can’t control, I don’t just want to get married to have a husband and a companion to love. I want to get married because family is God’s way of bringing happiness into our lives.

I saw those people on the video sharing all those moments and I felt the contrast to my own life. Suddenly I desperately wanted to have that. I know that I will one day. I know that this time is perfect for me. That I have exactly what I need right now. I know that I have family. In fact I have more family than I hardly know what to do with. It’s just that with all of that. I find myself living alone. Coming home at night to an empty house, sharing the beautiful things I see and experience with a child who can’t even speak and who isn’t mine. Worrying about burying my dad and taking care of my mom without anyone by my side. It’s lonely and it’s hard. But wow! Do I have something to look forward to! So here are a couple of challenges to any who happen to have read through my ramblings.

1.) If you live near a temple, Go. See the Our heavenly father’s plan for families display and see if you can leave without crying!

2.) If you have children, or a spouse, or siblings or anything that represents family for you…imagine your life without anyone of them and be grateful that God’s plan included making them a part of your life.

and 3.) Spend some time alone and see what ah-ha moments you have.

Shame on singlehood!

I had planned to write another piece following up on my last post about Polygamy and Mormon’s. And then I went to work and I sat talking for a while with a man who has been married for almost 50 years to the same woman. He was giving me a little fatherly advice on dating and marriage and such. I was happy and quite content when the conversation started and while I know he meant well, by the end of the conversation I was feeling more than a little sad.

Not the down and out I hate my life and wish someone would roll over me with an 18 wheeler kind of sad. Not even the I need to sit in my room with a box of tissues and an even bigger bucket of Ben and Jerry’s kind of sad. Just a deep sigh of I want something more kind of sad.

You see, Im single, and thirty and sometimes I just feel really alone. This is a world built for couples, for families and I am tired of being just me.

There was a time, and not so very long ago that I would have been a little ashamed to admit that so openly and brazenly. But its true. Somehow its easy to feel ashamed of those desires as though by saying that I want to be married I am admitting to being a mindless knit wit of a girl who sees value in herself only if she is loved by someone. It’s not that I feel that I am getting so old, or that I see all my friends married and feel left out, it’s not that I feel that I must be unlovable if I don’t have some man doting on me and getting down on one knee to propose. It’s not even that I am often lonely, although I am. It’s none of those things.

I am a pretty confident person, I have made my own way in the world, determined my path in life, set out on an adventure that I never would have dreamed possible, traveled the world, met all kinds of people, seen some really amazing and some really awful things. I have lived alone in my own place and enjoyed the independence of doing what I want when I want without worrying about another person. I have earned a degree, written a book, performed on stage, had many different experiences that I am really glad that I have had.

But I want to find out what married couples fight about and start fighting…and making up. I want to have someone who calls during the day just to see how my day was. To have someone who will hold me when I am having pain, who will listen when I need to talk and who will talk with me. I want to go to the grocery store and buy for more than one. I want to pick up someone else’s clothes and put them in the hamper when he forgets. I want to have inside jokes and memories that come with years of living with a person and knowing them so well that you can get as much from a look as you could from a whole paragraph.

I want a family, a baby, children, a mess in the house, piles of laundry to do. I want the bad days when dinner burns, the baby wont stop crying, the dishwasher broke and I just want to sit on the floor in defeat and wonder if I am crazy to be trying this at all. And I want the good days too where everything goes well and my husband arrives home to a tasty dinner on the table and our brilliant children quietly helping with chores and me looking more beautiful than ever greeting him at the door with a kiss. (Ok so maybe that’s asking for a bit much) I want to bring a spirit into this world, a human being and watch them grow, and teach them and see them grow into an individual. I want the satisfaction of knowing that I created something so complete and perfect, and amazing as a little person! I have loved being by myself! I really have but now I want to start spending the rest of my life with someone. I want to start a family and look forward to grand kids, I want to move on. What I don’t want is to be married just to get it done. I am happy single…most of the time. But I would still rather be single and unhappy than married and unhappy. At least then you have something to look forward to. I read this quote today from a book called the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society. It goes like this. ” I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.”
And so at the end of the day, when I come home and briefly cross paths with my roommates ( who I love and adore), eat my dinner alone and then sit here and complain to the universe at large about my desire to be married. I refuse to feel small and insignificant, I wont feel like a simple, sweet, girl, who just wants to be married. I will be happy with my life and accomplishments, I will look forward to the next stage of life. I will feel like a grown woman who wants more out of life than what I have and I wont be ashamed.