Growing up, I used to cry at night because I did not want anything to change.
I knew there was a time when you graduated from high school and soon after, got married, and then you started a family, or at least that was what Mom and Dad did.
BUT I was bound and determined that the life we had right then was so good that I did not want Lisa, my older sister to graduate and move on, much less me!
At that point in our life, all four of us kids were sharing one bedroom and all six of us were sharing one bathroom, and Lisa and I were sharing a double bed.
Now when I think about those days I don't know how we made it!
At some point I must have resigned myself to growing up and even though going to college after high school was a HUGE change for my parents and their siblings, it was becoming the norm for my age group, so since Lisa went to college, so did I.
Only there wasn't a lot available for women, even with a degree, in those days, and it basically felt like I could be a teacher or a nurse and since I hate blood, the very sight of it, I went with teacher, only everyone else did too.
While in school I fell in love with the idea of graduating, getting that first job, finding Mr. Right, when I was about 25, and then getting married, putting up the picket fence, and having 2.5 children!
Since the two men who asked me to marry them in college saw the picket fence somewhere in West Texas, I decided they must not be Mr. Right, as I knew I must return to Dallas, not a town that did not even have a stop light!
So when I came back to Dallas it took until February of the next year to get that first teaching job.
Only then my life took a HUGE detour and I spent three weeks in the hospital and six more weeks recovering from brain surgery and basically fighting to stay alive.
While I survived, obviously, my appearance took a direct hit, and the plans I made for my life, were traded for never ending doctors' appointments, and more hospital stays, so I must have missed Mr. Right!
Recovery from each took priority instead.
Since the giant aneurysm I was diagnosed with also came with the threat of death if I got pregnant, then those ideas I fell in love with during college had to be reconfigured and I decided the purpose of all of this was to make me fall in love with a man who could never have been Mr. Right before I had my surgery. I was so convinced of this that I stuck with that really bad relationship, still sure that it made all that had happened make sense. Of course hind sight tells me otherwise and when I finally decided to focus on what I, which should be underlined and in bold, wanted, then I stopped the world I was on and stepped off, took a right turn, and went back to college full time.
While this was a great change it led me to the second so Mr. Wrong that it seems that I learned nothing from the first Mr. Wrong.
BUT I had found that I was able to make decisions for myself and continued to develop a life in spite of myself.
Around this time, my wonderful sister Jana, who has since passed away due to a heart condition no one, including her, knew she had, brought home my beautiful niece, Darcey, from China when she was almost 12 months old.
When I first saw her I knew what I had to do. I HAD to adopt a child! But not just any child. I had to adopt from China. BUT I also knew I could not be the mother to an infant. Shoot, I'm single, and the thought of all the things that come with babies was not the right fit, but the second I heard about "waiting" children in China, I knew that was the right way to go.
Five and a half years later, all the paperwork, all the phone calls, all the emails, all the money, sweat, travel, ups and downs, are just a blur and I want to say that I adopted Grace, plain and simple, and I became a mom, which somehow through the process, was not about me becoming a Mom, but instead, that Grace would have a Mom. I'm not sure that makes sense, but the focus of the process was on her, not me. I think sometimes I am still surprised when someone says something about me being a mother.
I can tell you that the very first time that I saw a picture of Grace, I KNEW this was SO RIGHT and what I had to do was to bring Grace to me and we would be a family.
So while most mothers begin to celebrate Mother's Day with an infant, I began with a six year old who did not grow into being a daughter, but became one the same day I became a mother. We both got new titles on the same day and both were well aware of the change, but not quite sure of what all the changes would mean.
So we learned together, what it means to be a daughter and what it means to be a mother.
And then I decided that Grace needed to also know what it meant to be a sister and me the mother of two and that's how we decided our family needed another child.
And when I saw the first picture of Annabel, I knew, just like with Grace, that she was the one, my daughter.
And for Annabel, we are still working on what it means to be a daughter and what it means to be her mother, because when you are 11 and you just get the title of daughter, it takes a little while, because some people have abused the concept of what you are obliged to do if you are their daughter, and understand that you can be loved just for being you and not for what you do.
So while I did not follow my original plan, I found a better plan, and I am celebrating my 5th year of being a mom, which still seems more like I am celebrating having daughters, rather than me being the mom.