Spring is finally here and my boys are having a blast tearing around the field behind our house with all the neighborhood kids. It is quite a colorful assortment; we've got blondes, brunettes, a redhead, curly hair, straight hair, boys, girls, big, small, medium, you name it. Every afternoon the minute school lets out it begins. I hear the thumping of the basketball on the court next door. None of these kids actually live there--my neighbors put a paved basketball court in their backyard and now their kids are grown. It's not fenced in so the whole neighborhood traipses in and out, playing pick-up games.
They also play baseball, soccer, football, tag, hide-and-seek, guns, just everything. They play on our swingset and in our sandbox. They run around and scream and laugh and fight. Sometimes they all get quiet, usually in the sandbox. Today one boy needed a bandaid. "Eric's bleeding!" a little girl exclaimed. I went out there to check on the situation, applied a bandage to the tiniest microscopic dot on his little finger...which was a good thing.
As a mom, I don't know how you ever stop wanting more kids. Like, even when it's completely insane. I know firsthand how hard it is to have a baby at 40, and then one at 44. I also know how difficult and frustrating it is to foster. And yet, when I see them, each one, their little faces...I think, "awwwww," and it's just like that crazy moment one time in college when I took home a puppy. Well, no, it's not really exactly like that. For one thing, you can give away a puppy.
But you know how it is getting older (if you are there yet). You don't actually feel older, which is why it's always such a shock to look in the mirror. I mean, you can't see as well, you don't remember things, and you move slower. I used to run everywhere, literally. Like, when I'd get out of the car at the grocery store, I would sprint across the parking lot to the door. I'd do the same thing going to the mailbox. Pretty much I just zipped everywhere. I thought to myself, "I don't see many other grown-up women doing this...this must be immature, this running thing." But I liked to do it anyway, and it saved time. But I wondered, "Will I ever slow down? Will it ever be that I just don't have the energy to go flying around like this anymore?" And of course I can tell you the answer to that now. Yes.
But I am still the same person I always was--the little girl who told her dad confidently that one day she would have sixteen kids of her own. It was so weird when things actually didn't turn out that way. First of all, I delivered my first baby by Cesarean (he was breech) which then set the precedent and I had to have all Cesareans. That limits the number of children you can have. I hadn't thought of that.
And then we were broke. Being young I didn't understand that no matter how many kids we had we would have made do. I get that now but I didn't then. And when we tried to adopt, it wasn't that easy. Fostering was maybe one of the hardest things we ever did. I'll tell you why it was/is so hard (even though we don't foster anymore). Because I chickened out. I mean, it all started out so great, but then as time went on and we had to really make a long-term commitment, I became like Peter on the water with Christ, I looked away from Him and cried, "I can't do this!!!"
Regret is perilously easy. The reality of the day-to-day raising of kids is sobering, to say the least. And some days I just don't really feel like being so serious. But then this silly little kid says something so hilarious like asking, "Mom, does Optimus Prime shoot bombs out of his ears?" and I know I'm in the right business.