Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Small People

Something that is not a full-fledged reality (yet) : children.

The timing has been weighing on my mind, so this is a good moment to wonder through some thoughts. I think I've gotten over the 'Yikes! Three years in one place!' reactions about stability as far as a country is concerned. That was a good building block. Also, God and i have had some really good talks about motivations (right, wrong, and iffy) for having kids.

I am now more aware of why I shouldn't want children: because I'm bored, or because I want more purpose in my life. I shouldn't want them just because they would open doors to making friends in our neighborhood and overseas, or so I instant get an identity that lets me connect with other moms and can 'belong' to a group. Or because I think I'd be a great mom and could produce perfectly-behaved, impressive offspring. Those reasons could be side effects, but not the main purpose, or there could be trouble.

I am more certain of why I do want children. There's the companionship, fun, and love of having kids, for one. I had a great childhood and would love to pass on the same to children of mine - dancing in the kitchen, intelligent conversations about people around the world, and adventures. I also want to see D as a father, because i'm sure he'll be heart-warmingly awesome. I want to start a world-changing family and make a difference wherever we go, just like my family was. I'd love to see D's parents and my parents and grandma delight over my children, to see my toddler take steps into the arms of family. I'd want to raise them loving God, making Him famous, being molded to be more like Him and changing their own worlds as they grow up.

Over the last few months, having kids on my mind (constantly) has made me notice other children. I've seen how precious they are and sighed over the thought of a little one in my own arms or tucked over D's shoulder. But I've also seen the risks of having children. Not risks to our house, or our pocketbook, or to any plans of having white velvet furniture and sparkling glassware (ha!) but risks to our equilibrium and hearts. What would we do if we had a miscarriage? Or a child with Down syndrome? How would we cope if our child had a heart defect, was crippled, or was blind? Practically speaking, there's so much that can go wrong. Speaking from the heart, any child of ours would be cherished no matter how he or she arrived - I know that! But having seen friends deal with issues as challenging as autism, club feet, and severe allergies, I'm not going to blithely assume that children arrive perfectly and remain that way!

While it makes me feel better to be aware of issues, it's impossible to prepare for everything. I know we're given enough grace for each day, so I don't have to try to reach perfect maturity and organisation before we can even think about having children. At the same time, I do want to be aware of what should ideally be in place before children come: emotional stability and financial stability (not necessarily wealth!). As I laughed to d's sister the other day, I'm constantly forgetting cups of tea or half-finished tasks - forgetfulness is not a good thing when babies are involved! So one of my goals is to learn to be more organised in my life while I have reasonable control over it. Through years of experiences as a big sister, a preschool teacher, and a nanny, I've definitely seen how structure can go out the window when there are little people involved. So I'm prepared for noise, chaos, and mess, but I don't want my children's mother to be the cause of it, haha!

Financial cushioning is also important to me, as I mentioned. It's been good to look at different Web sites and get an idea of how much money is ideal to save up ahead of time (as much as possible, in general, but I saw one suggestion of *minimum* an extra $1000 just for the first baby.) I wouldn't expect to move into a big house around the arrival of a baby- an apartment would be fine for starters, and maybe for afterwards too. I don't really hear myself saying, "Honey, we have to have a fully dedicated nursery for the baby! And an extra room for their clothes and toys!" I'd also expect to make, borrow, or buy second-hand most of the baby and child clothes, toys, and furniture. (Picturing my talented husband D building a little cradle makes me smile already.) However, even going the simplest, least-fuss route of feeding and clothing and raising a little one (and its siblings, hopefully!) will add up. Not to mention birth complications, accidents, or insurance issues, and all the other things that could pop up along the way. I want to have enough money in the bank not to be stressing about finances while dealing with short nights, long days, and all the other joys and challenges of a baby.

So, timing? Some time in the next few years. From our side, there's stability- emotional and financial- to think about. D and I have been married not quite a year and a half, so technically we're still young and technically there's still plenty of time :P  D's work and school are definitely factors - as I pointed out to my sister, 'How would you like to studying for your Master's, working, and putting up with an emotional me?' '... I see your point,' she said. Another definite factor is God's timing. As my mum reminded me, there are plenty of people who are absolutely certain they're not having kids and then TADAAAA a little surprise. Or vise versa - people who are certain they can have kids when they want, and then they can't, or they can't for several years. I try not to underestimate what God can very do, no matter how we humans think we have everything under control :) We will have kids if/when God lets us, and they will be a gift and a loan and a challenge and a delight!

I am so looking forward to that day, and in the meantime, I'm preparing to be a balanced, godly (plus fun and crazy!) mum. Whoooohoooo for little people!

1 comment:

  1. You will be great a great mum, of course, I don't doubt that, though probably in different ways than you originally anticipated. Isn't that fun? And all the organization in the world doesn't keep you from forgetting that cup of tea. :P I love you and love that you are a surrogate aunt to my little dudes til you get your own.