"Did you always want a big family?"
I hear that question more than any other when people find out I have ten children. That along with "Are you crazy?". The latter though is most folks being facetious. At least that's what I choose to think. Ten kids. Was it always my dream? At some point when I was very tiny it was my dream. After I grew up a bit those dreams changed. That's something I have discovered as my life has come and gone, dreams come and go with it. When I was in high school I wanted nothing more than to move to Hollywood and become a movie producer. Not a director or writer, a producer. I did a lot of it in college and loved it. That dream came and went. That dream went when I married Jon and we started our family. Big families aren't really conducive with a Hollywood lifestyle. Since then I have had more than my share of dreams. Writing, real estate, sonography, starting my own business. But, there's always this huge family.
I love to hear people tell me how blessed I am. I am serious when I say that....really I am. So many people say how wonderful it is that we have this huge family and how we will love it over the years when our family grows to children, in laws and grand kids. I will say that I love it, I really do. But I also wonder if people truly understand the sacrifice it takes to raise a large family. My life has not been my own in twenty years, and will stay that way for several more. I have given up most of my dreams, short term, long term and everything in between. The time for doing certain things I wanted to has come and gone. I am not too old to go back to school, but I am too old to go to medical school. By the time I was in a position to start and finish I would end about the time most people retire. I could go back to school to do sonography, and I try to hold on to that dream, but I also realize that I still have several tiny kids that need me more than the medical community needs me. I would never want to put my kids into daycare, that's my choice. I had these little munchkins, I am going to raise them! So I put on hold what I want for my children.
Sacrifice is more than just "giving something up for something else". It's taking the needs, wants, desires and hopes of someone else and putting them before your own. It's doing something very hard, with the hope of a great reward in the end. Sacrifice is never easy, but they say its worth it. I have only gone through 20 years of parenting. I have many more to go...on through eternity, so I cannot refute or substantiate what people say is "worth it". All I can do is go off my feelings and experiences day to day. Some days the hugs, kisses and smiles are more than I need to keep going.
"I love you, mom"
"Your my hero, mom"
"I don't want to go because I want to be here with you, mom"
"I want to be just like you someday, mom"
Some days I sit and cry a bit and try to remember exactly who I was before I started this journey and who I have become while on this path. Some days I feel like a nobody, and some days I feel like a true hero. Of course it depends on the day.
"I hate you!"
"Why can't you just let me do it my way?"
"Your so nosey mom!"
"You don't get it mom, you just don't!"
Since having my last child, I have had time to think a lot about what my own future holds. I know I have so many more years of patching up skinned knees, parent teacher conferences, ice cream trucks and giggles over the antics of a sly little boy, but I also know that someday my own needs will come first simply because everyone else will be gone. They will have their own dreams to tend to, while I will left with myself. What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? It has morphed over the years and continues to do so. I will figure it out and one day I will be able to post about it, until then I wade through some serious laundry, noisy days, friends, sky high grocery bills and day to day stress. While I do it I will try to remember that this too is a dream. The dream of this home full of little feet, happy smiles, happy laughter and soft tears. This too is a dream and even though its been realized, its not nearly complete. It never will be. It will march on with me while I add to it other dreams.
Dreams do come true, I tell people all the time. Sometimes we just don't recognize it for what it is, sometimes we do....have you?