While I am keenly aware that children come into existence on God's timing I have always pictured my children close in age. It's true that I desired to have my babies 18 months apart on purpose. My siblings and I aren't close in age and there's always been a gap between us simply because we've always been at different stages of life. I graduated from college the year my sister graduated from the eighth grade. Nick and his brother are also a few years apart and been in very different places throughout their lives.
We wanted close friendships for our children and hoped that having them close in age would set a good foundation for that. I mean high school is already a completely different world now than when I attended, I can only imagine what it will be like for my children and how great for them to have someone to experience it with. I will never truly 'get it', but at least their siblings will have the same frame of reference.
Being a mom of three children this small is hard work, but anything worth working for is worth working hard for. I didn't know how many people it would bother to witness a woman with three small children. On three separate occasions a random stranger has quipped: "Looks like you need to get a new hobby!" directly to my face. I didn't realize how many people would be baffled to find me out of the house! "alone"! with three small children! and still smiling!
But I didn't expect, or even desire, to be their primary caregiver. In today's society two income families seem to be the norm and I figured that I would continue in my line of office administratin while Nick became a youth pastor and we'd partner with a wonderful daycare to raise our babes. I'm one of those women who actually likes day cares and thinks Early Childhood Educators are unsung heroes.
It's not that I don't want to be responsible for my children, it's not that I don't believe myself capable, it's not even that I don't feel up to the challenge.
The thing for me is that although first steps and first words and first foods are exciting and momentus; the first step will be followed by a million more, and the first word by a billion more, and the first food by a trillion more. And anyone can help a baby learn to walk and talk and eat.
But the first piano recital could be the last, and the first basketball try out could crush a spirit, and first heartache may snuff a soul. And I don't want to be absent from those firsts, to be there for the first five years and absent for the next fifteen.
I would gladly choose to miss a first step in order to cheer from the sidelines for my daughter with two left feet as she trips down the soccer field, smiling, because she knows I chose to be there for those steps.
I would have gladly made that choice.