Dreaming Big Dreams

As I sit here on my couch typing this, one child of mine is watching Japanese animation videos on a lap top in the kitchen, one child is pretending to do homework in her bedroom but is actually reading a novel on Cleopatra she nicked from my book case after I told her it wasn't appropriate reading for her age and another child is beating the crap out of my front load washer as it spins it way to cleaning skid-stained underwear.

In other words, life is fairly normal round these parts on a national holiday.

I'm a lucky woman, if by lucky one overlooks the fact her one of her children dropped dead suddenly in her arms four years ago.

Like everyone else, life hasn't turned out like I once planned it, sitting in a high school desk day dreaming while ignoring the page of quadratic equations staring up at me. Back then, I had big dreams of something, although I can't remember what those somethings were. I just know they never once included getting married to the boy my mother loved, the same boy who parted his hair in the middle and drove a wood-paneled station wagon that leaked gas and had a family of field mice living in the roof.

I never once thought I'd get married, let alone at the ripe age of 20, after having given birth to a daughter and expecting yet another child only four months after squeezing the first rabid badger out of my pink parts.

I never once thought I'd have any children biologically, and my brain never once expanded enough to allow for the possibility that I'd one day be raising a disabled child, bury that child and then willingly take on yet another special needs child.

Life is funny that way.

I don't regret any of the choices I made which have led me down the path I find myself on now. As I sit here and listen to the quiet sounds my children are making (and by quiet I'm not counting every time my youngest bangs his bony little feet against the metal of the wash machine and then laughs hysterically at the banging sound) and I wonder how I could never imagine being a mother or a wife.

Back when I was a teen, the only possible road to happiness in my mind was the road that traveled to a big bank account and success in whatever job I pursued.

Four years ago, I sat on this same couch, staring at the forest of leafless trees outside my window and I couldn't imagine ever feeling anything but pain and despair and grief ever again.

Time is a marvellous thing.

Yet here I am, on this road, a road filled with family and love and special needs and blogging and television and somehow, in 34 years I have managed to fill my life with more success and love than I would ever have thought possible.

Somehow, after the greatest tragedy a parent can face, my husband and I have managed to turn the pain of our loss into something new and wonderful and see our way into opening our hearts and home for a little boy who was born to bang on my overpriced home appliances with his boney little feet.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of my Shale bug, or play the what-if game, or wonder what he would look like and be like had he lived to see this moment, but those moments are overwhelmed by the marvellous mouthiness of raising two healthy teens and chasing after a little boy who can't walk but can somehow manage to find his way to the dog's water dish to dump it on the floor and finger paint in it before I can stop him.

If I could go back in time to pull my teenaged self aside, I wouldn't go back to tell my younger self what mistakes to avoid or pitfalls to jump over. No, what I would want to tell myself so many years ago instead would be to simply imagine bigger, dream differently.

Because somehow all my dreams have come true and I never even knew I was dreaming them.

Would have been nice for a little heads up back then.

The month of November is National Adoption Month here in North America. A nice reminder to our family that our dream came true the day Jumby came home.

Yet another dream I never knew I had.

I am a lucky girl.

***Click here if you want to watch my latest television segment where I look chinless as I talk about adoption and our own personal path which led to Jumby's arrival.

My children after watching the segment told me I'm much prettier in person. And then they wondered why CBC doesn't hire someone better than me.

Ah. Children. Really, they are a dream come true.

I'll just keep repeating that so I don't forget.***