May is motherhood memoir month

May Day- another birthday

Two years ago today I wrote: My youngest turned 9 today. Halfway to 18… all she wanted for her birthday was a kitten. We have not had good luck with cats for this little girl who loves cats more than anything in the whole world, and she loves a lot of things, mostly animals.

She was offered the chance to go back to Wizarding World in Orlando (since we’d bought year long passes last year when we went). “That would be #2 on my list,” she said.

No.1 was visiting a vet. Could she see what a vet does and just hang out with him or her for the day? My friend arranged a trip to a llama farm where there are new baby llamas. That will have to do for now.

And a kitten. I drove 2 1/2 hours each way to get this kitten.

I would do almost anything for this kid, this kid I didn’t think I wanted. I was 46, finally applying to grad school when I heard the words, “You’re pregnant.” I was amazed, and scared, and somewhat angry, or at least confused. And then I thought I would miscarry. But I had thought that the last time, when I was 39, and that baby turned out to be fine.

That was a daughter too. We have three daughters, each born in different decades, all with the same father. None of them were planned (at least by us). We have three sons also. The first was born three years after the surprise of our first daughter. We had only been married two years when she came along. Three years later we had our first son. We were a family of four for the next eight years. Then our daughter turned 12. We were watching her dance in the Nutcracker. This is more than half over, I thought, this raising a child, being a family. I leaned over and whispered to my husband, “I want another child.”

He leaned away to look at my face. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, but you pray about it,” I said.

Later he said he couldn’t imagine God telling him, “don’t let her have another child.” So we had another child, a second son. And three years later, a third son. Three sons and three daughters. It sometimes seems like a lot for someone who said she didn’t want children.

It isn’t like I don’t know who I would be without children. I do. I have enough friends in academe and the  community of outdoor enthusiasts to see clearly what I might have done if I didn’t have children. I’ve sometimes envied them, and that might go both ways. It’s best to accept the life you choose, or are given, and make the most of it.

That is what writing helps me do. It is a large part of why I write. And when I celebrate my children’s birthdays, I celebrate myself too.

How about you? Do you have a child you thought you didn’t want? Or do you want a child you don’t have? Or do you celebrate yourself some on the day you gave birth to a child? Write about that.

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