Being a parent is the scariest thing I can imagine. But sometimes I think about how I would like to show my child a turtle. I know it’s not all turtles, Ray Bradbury novels, and swingsets. It’s that soft spot on the baby’s head, explaining to them about death when their hamster stops moving, and accepting that God is the one who decides what happens to them, not me. Still, I catch myself wondering what it would be like to teach my daughter how to paint—wrapping up a bright new tube of yellow or blue, and leaving it on her pillow, or next to her cereal bowl in the morning. I think about watching her learn how to fix a bike or mow the lawn, from her dad, and I smile.
I’m okay with not being a mom. I’m in the mid-thirties now, and that door was open, then closed, and you learn to make peace with things. I was first married in my mid-twenties and we had plans to adopt. When that marriage ended I realized—among other things—that I might never be a mom. I talked to God about this, then began googling “tiny house living,” figuring I’d move onto my parent’s property and be that single teacher who feeds stray cats and writes novels on the weekend.
I didn’t think I would marry again. Meeting Evan has been like holding my cup out to God and watching him fill it so full with fresh water, that it splashes over my hands, down my arms, and onto my feet. I guess what I’m saying is that, while contentment has always seemed like a mythical thing, here I am. Content. Which is not to say that I am free from burdens, baggage, or unmet longings. I cannot wait for death to be defeated, for these bodies to be made new, and to see my Savior face-to-face. But I am living a life that I didn’t think was possible after so much loss, and all I can do is wake up in the morning and say: “God, thank you. For all of this.”
So it’s not that I don’t want a child, but rather, it’s hard to imagine being given even more than I already have. It’s that I’ve grieved that loss already, and so if doesn’t happen, I know I will be able to continue on. I have light pink lilies growing beside the steps that lead up to my front door. I have notebooks full of watercolor paper, just waiting to be turned into paintings. I have a church full of people I love, blank greetings cards waiting to be written in and sent out to the lonely, and so many books to write. So many.
If one day I have a child on my lap as I type, soft cheeks to kiss, and tears to dry, I will look at my overflowing cup and marvel that the water keeps spilling over. That God’s kindness doesn’t cease. That there is still more beauty and wonder out there that I have yet to experience. I will worry about keeping her safe and fret about the future. But I will also laugh at her jokes, pray over her heart, teach her how to paint, and show her all of God’s creatures, from kittens, to sparrows, to turtles. Selah.
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