Friday, November 22, 2013

My complicated relationship with babies

I searched Google for crazy babies.
I currently like babies. Let's get that out of the way. I like seeing them in the pew in front of me at church or in the line at the grocery store. I like making faces at them. I like their laughs. I like it when my friends and family make one so I get to be around one. Babies are great.

But I haven't always liked them.

When I was four or five, I saw a baby at church and I pointed at him in his stroller and he grabbed my finger and bit onto it and wouldn't let go until I slapped his face to make him cry so he'd let go.

When I was ten, my mother babysat a baby with 12 toes. He didn't bite my finger but I was still a little scared of him.

When I was 15, I found a baby on the stairs outside the orphanage where I lived and we brought it in and the nuns raised it and now he's the Mayor of Toronto.

One of those things is not true. And I only make light of it because ...

Today, when I think of babies, I get a little bit sad. Amelia and I have not been able to make them. One doctor speculates it's because I suffered an injury when I was young. (Wear a cup, kids! Even at home watching TV with your cousins!) One speculates that, even though she's had two children already, it's related to the thyroid disease Amelia was diagnosed with four years ago. Some doctors tell us we're too old and beat up to have a healthy child, even if we could.

The truth is we've never officially been tested or found out for sure why we can't. Now, some people may think that's stupid. "Well, if you want kids, you'd do everything you could to get them. Have more faith." Ok, sure. By the time we thought we were ready to try, we tried. By the time we realized there might be a real problem, Amelia was sick. Then her heart quit. Then there was the thought that God might not want us to make more together. He never gives you more than you can handle. Maybe he was trying to tell us we already had two marvelous kids in our mixed family home that we need to help to have the best lives they can.

Feeling incomplete, cheated, and left out, I've prayed a lot about the fertility issue over the years. Every question has always caused a stupor of thought. This past year, I got a peaceful feeling that we were good. That our family was complete ... for now. I don't know how to explain it but I feel whole. I really love my little family and it's good for me to learn to focus on them with all I have.

Yes, I missed the first 18 months of my daughter's life. The true "baby" years. But I've been able to spend every day since giving her my love, my advice, and my all. That's been pretty brilliant. She is pretty brilliant. And I've never even slapped her in the face.

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