Once upon a time, in those halcyon days before the internet and skinny jeans and Instagram, I had a lot of ideas about what growing up would look like. I was pretty sure I'd be married by twenty-one and I had big plans for the boatload of children I'd have. It was also part of the plan to get a college degree, which would effectively prepare me to homeschool all those kids Prince Charming and I would bring into the world.
Forty-year old me is kind of glad most of those plans didn't materialize.
I graduated from college with a regular B.A. and not the elusive MRS., which contrary to all feminist movements on my campus, I had been very eager to achieve by the end of that four years. And, then, after seven years of the single life, living in a handful of cities, traveling to a few different countries, making friends that are still like family to me, I got engaged in a pink castle in Sweden one month before I turned 29. Literally the brink of spinsterhood.
My ovaries being a little older than I thought they'd be when starting a family, I was motivated to add to our tribe pretty soon after tying the knot. It took longer than I thought, but a little more than two years into being a wife, I become a mom.
I was pregnant four times in five years and then Mae was born almost four years after Sam.
When Mae was two and I was thirty-seven, I started dreaming about another baby. I'm pretty sure that there could be a case made for that early baby stage being a kind of addiction. Once they start walking and talking, it's easy to begin reminiscing about those sweet days rocking a tiny baby to sleep, listening to their coos before they have words, and being enamored with that toothless smile that's gone before you're ready. But, then you realize that the only way to satiate that addiction is to keep having babies and eventually that just doesn't make sense anymore.
But, and I'm getting to why I started typing this little post out at all, that same summer of being overwhelmed with the desire for another babe, the opportunity to help get a small non-profit off the ground came along. Without my realizing it, a gradual replacing of desires happened. Instead of pining for a baby, I found myself heart-deep in creating a respite for women whose pregnancies and births were much different experiences than mine had been.
It turned out that instead of my being given another baby, I was given the chance to advocate for other women to have theirs. And, almost four years later, I see how that was the best thing, despite being so different from what I'd thought I wanted.
Lately, I keep making new plans for myself and plotting out what I think should be my next steps. But, I'm less sure of my life-planning skills than I was at twenty-one. Some days that feels terrible. But, other days, there's comfort knowing that the verse we all loved to quote about God giving us the desires of our hearts if we would just trust in Him, actually has more to do with His desires becoming ours than the other way around.
And that's good news, because if Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram have taught me anything, it's that I wouldn't have survived homeschooling fourteen children.