Winter always reminds me of when I knew I wanted to be a mom. I remember because it was winter when I realized this was important to me.
It was 2004 and I was dating a guy pressuring me to have sex. I was asking myself a LOT of questions totally appropriate for a 20-year old. Did I want to have kids? What did I want to do with my life? What kind of relationships did I want in my life? Was I ok having sex before marriage? (I grew up in the South and in a Southern Church, this was still very radical!). All healthy questions to ask as you enter adulthood.
I had a dream one night.
In this dream I was a mom with 4 boys and pregnant. I didn’t know what I was pregnant with (boy or girl) but in the dream, in the way of dreams, I knew I had teased my husband we were going to keep having babies until we had at least one of each.
The oldest boy was quiet and intelligent and sensitive. He was the one who came home and buckled down to his homework.
The second was into sports. Hockey or lacross or something with a lot of gear and a long, obnoxious stick.
The third was the goofy one. He was the one in the family that was always attention-seeking by telling jokes, being loud and opinionated, and probably was going to go into theater because he had such a flair for the dramatic.
The fourth boy was just a toddler, still being carried on my hip pretty regularly.
And I was pregnant with number five. FIVE.
I woke up knowing I wanted kids. Maybe not five. But the joy of getting to know those little people and the fun of letting them explore who they want to be when they grew up… I wanted that. I want that.
I also knew I wouldn’t be having sex with the guy. In my dream I knew my husband (who never actually appeared in the course of the dream…) was someone who I trusted implicitly. It was someone I wasn’t nervous opening up to or leaning on. As much as the guy was a decent human – I always felt this tension with him. I couldn’t have sex with him because I couldn’t let down all my guards with him.
It was an amazingly impactful moment in my life. It was poignant and in all the years since I knew kids were a non-negotiable for my life. If I couldn’t find a partner, I would adopt. But I want that relationship. I want to be there to see someone I love that much turn into the person they can be. Now that I’m seeing it, I feel all the anxiety of wanting to be the most supportive. It’s my reigning philosophy of “mom” – support him to be the best version of himself.
Is he going to be into video games or sports or science or theater? Is he going to be introverted or extroverted (I’m leaning towards the latter right now – he’s very people-oriented and even the people at daycare say he’s super-social). Can I teach him to be better than I am about his food habits, sleeping habits, and brushing his teeth?