Happy Mother’s Day! I think I’m done having kids

547751_10151367700569149_189076974_nI think

I’m not having any more children.

We’ve talked,

Joe and I.

I brought it up.

“What do you think about

One more baby?”

“Aw, babe,” he said.

“I just don’t think I can.”

His reasons were sound:

We already have

Four kids.

Let’s just focus on the

Ones we have.

Let’s give them all our attention.

(And all our finite financial resources.)

I tried to wage an argument,

But I wasn’t enthusiastic.

The truth was,

I kind of wanted him to

Talk me

Out of it.

So now,

It’s a matter of

Getting used to the idea

That this is it:

My family.

A couple divorcees with an

Assortment of kids:

Siblings,

Step-siblings,

Half-siblings.

We have ’em all.

Somehow I’d thought that

Just

One

More–

Especially if it was a girl–

Would even everything out.

Make it tidy.

There’d be the two older kids–

Full siblings to each other–

Then two younger full siblings–

Then my son in the middle.

The girls would bookend the assortment.

A fifth child to

Tie it all up

In a neat,

Pink

Bow.

Our family has felt like a

Work in progress for

So long.

It’s hard to imagine

That we’re

Finished adding to it.

But I held a newborn baby in my arms

Last week

And felt none of the

Longing

To have my own.

The boxes of maternity clothes in the

Basement that

I was hanging onto

Just in case

I’ve promised to a

Pregnant friend

(Whom I feel no envy toward in the least).

My two sons were

Screaming with laughter in the shower

Together

Last night.

They’re the only ones

I’ll physically bear

It would seem.

My first boy and

My baby boy,

I call them.

It seems a shame to

Retire the ol’ reproductives when they

Still have something in them.

But then again,

It’s nice to think of

Having myself to

Myself

Again

Forever.

Never again the

Intrinsic sharing of

Resources and

Energy of a pregnancy

Or breastfeeding.

And our family?

Definitely untidy.

Three last names

You will spell wrong

If I don’t spell them

Very slowly

For you over the phone.

Pictures reflect our

Mish-mash schedules.

Different combinations of kids

Depending on who is around that weekend.

When we go to bed at night,

I have to think for a minute:

If there was a fire,

How many kids are home

To rescue from the flames?

One?

Two?

Three?

Four?

It could be any of those numbers.

And the different

Mothering

I do to them all.

I’m a different person to each of them

Depending on their needs.

When I think of being a

Mom and a

Step-mom,

The first word I think of is

Fun.

It really is just a

Hell of a lot of fun.

Not every moment,

But there is much to be amused about.

Much to laugh at.

Yep,

It’s hard.

But it’s gotten easier over the years.

I’m grateful for my

Four kids.

They are each divine in their

Own ways,

And they each teach me about the

Divine in me.

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Grace

The Skype window flickered on,

Revealing my boy and his dad

Granulated and dimmed by a

Few thousand miles of ether.

They were giggling together.

My boy on his dad’s lap in front of the computer

Trying to squirm away

The dad’s large hands

Gripping the narrow ribcage

The thick fingers digging in

For the tickle.

Both of them laughing

White teeth flashing.

“What are you monkeys doing?”

I asked,

Feigning disapproval.

My boy

Broke free and

Scampered to the other side of the room,

Where he stood panting and laughing,

Watching his dad.

Who said,

“Okay, it’s time to talk to Mom.”

The boy walked out of the room,

And his dad said,

Apologetically,

“He’s hungry.

He’s gonna have some ice cream in the kitchen.”

No tears for Mom,

No wails of longing,

Or I miss you.

Later,

Thinking about my boy

And our Skype time,

I was glad

That my boy is

Having fun

Without me.

I get it now.

That parent’s mantra:

“All I want is for you to be

Happy and safe.”

Incredible, the

Complex and paradoxical

Layers of

That kind of love.

That I could be happy and grateful

At the same time I’m

Sad and grieving.

When other parents say to me,

“I could never do what you do,

Be away from your child for months at a time.”

I always say with the assurance of

One who has experienced grace,

“Yes you could,

If you had to.

I hope you never have to.”