When I was a youngster, there were many long Summer days that were spent with a large family who owned a dairy farm.
I don't remember now how many children there were. But I do recall how I felt there was nothing in the World better than being in the company of so many children in such a warm family.
And so, when I was asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, my pat answer was to have as many children as I could. When I was asked why on Earth I would want a lot of kids, I always said I thought it would be such a lot of fun.
And it would have been. But the Universe had other plans. I was fortunate in that I had two children and yes, they were a lot of fun. I still yearned for more children, though, even when I myself couldn't have them. That's when foster children entered my life.
We did have a huge lot of enjoyment then...sometimes there were not enough chairs around the dinner table to hold my family and the foster kids. But we managed...
And then life changed again. A marriage broke up, and I moved on with my two children, further along on the path of life. I remarried. My new husband wasn't all that fond of fostering kids...and so, I encouraged my two daughters to bring their friends home, possibly just so I could once again have a full complement of folks around the dinner table.
Again, life's path took a turn. My youngest daughter, Katrina, had a child, Brianna. It was a tumultuous time in the life of a family, even though Bree was the warmest, brightest light we had. Unmarried, Katrina found life difficult...too difficult. And even as I gained a grandchild, I lost a daughter...
Heidi and her husband took Bree and adopted her when, if memory serves, she was around five or six. My second marriage had gone the way of the first by then. And the deeply rooted thought of many children around the dinner table loosened. For a long while, it seemed Bree was the only grandchild I would have.
I met Graham, who also had two children. His son, Scott, lived with us. He was fifteen when I met him, a teenager full of hormonal angst. Most of my foster kids were boys so I was not totally male ignorant. Coming from a family of girls, having only girls myself, it was still a revelation to me...Scott was very different from my daughters. But he bore out my notion that children brought a lot of fun.
And then, wonder of wonders!! My daughter and her husband decided to have a baby...and Graydon entered our World. It began to appear, even if my dinner table did not hold only very young children, it was certainly always very entertaining.
Brianna is sixteen now. Graydon will be turning four. Two children...a girl and a boy...now further graced my family tree. It was enough...it had to be, I thought. Graham and I are too old to have more children, even if I could.
But oh! Once again, the Universe thought it would shake up our now fairly complacent existence. Scott, now almost 25, and his girlfriend Kimeesha announced they were having a baby. Another child to bring fun and joy to our family dinners! How could anything be better than this?
Twins. Twins could be better.
Sometimes...sometimes our wishes and dreams and goals are derailed, along that long and winding road of Life.
All in good time, the Universe told me, all in good time. Having held the dream of being surrounded by children for so long, and for so long, having the dream denied...I had lost hope. I did not hold on to my faith which told me dreams can come true, if one holds onto them tightly enough.
Who would have thought, years ago, of the number of grandchildren...here and on their way...who I now have to nurture and teach, to love and laugh with, to enjoy? I certainly did not. My realization, so many years ago, that my main goal was to be a mother to many children...well, it didn't happen quite the way I thought it would.
But the proverbial dinner table will soon require another leaf. And more chairs.
And in the wings, there is another leaf, another chair. Just waiting. Just in case.
Who knows how many children and adults will find their place around that table in the end?
All I know is...
It's already a lot of fun. With twin girls, the merriment will only grow.
My dream from so long ago is in the process of being filled.