All I ever wanted was to have a family. My family was so dysfunctional when I was growing up, I craved a big family with dinners around the table, movie nights, beach days and reading bedtime stories all snuggled up together.
When I was probably around 17, Jimmy and I were going to our local summer festival, trying to find parking in this tiny town that didn’t even have a stoplight (at the time, our whole county had only 1). As we were driving, I saw this family of 6 walking on the sidewalk. The parents had 4 beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed children, all dressed in yellow shirts, walking single-file and looked to be stair-stepped in age. At the time, I told Jimmy (who only rolled his eyes at me), “can you believe how cute they are? They look like little baby ducks. I want 4 little ducks just like that.” Nothing makes a 17-year-old guy happier, right?
I had no idea that I would eventually have 4 children, all blonde. Three of them had the most brilliant blue eyes at birth. I never had the opportunity to see what color Zoe’s would be, but I could only assume blue because Noah, Avery and Heath all had them.
I also had no idea that I would have to give 2 of them back.
Now that I’m finished having children, I look at things in a completely different way. I’ve mentioned in the past how difficult it’s been accepting that I will never hold my own newborn again. Those are moments that I would give anything to have again. Now they are memories and I only get to have them in my mind.
I was talking to Jimmy recently and I told him that I worry that all the wonderful has already happened. What could possibly be left? We’ve had a lifetime of amazing and horrible in the 9 short years since we started having children. All 4 of their births, and the deaths of 2. What else could be left? Have I used up all the magnificent, incredible happiness that I get in this life? Maybe that’s it.
Logically, I know the answer is probably not. There is a lot of life left and surely we will have happy times again. But right now, during these days, it feels more like torture. No one else can see the feature film rolling in my brain, but it’s there on constant replay. I act like everything is okay, but it’s not. I fake a smile and say, “I’m fine” when people ask.
For now, I’m waiting for the joyous, while reliving the agony. I am trying to find enjoyment in the everyday moments. I’m fighting to get out of bed when I would rather just pull up the covers over my head and let another day pass by. I’m trying to push the stop button on my movie on a remote that doesn’t exist.
For now, I remember the innocence I had when I said I wanted 4 little ducks.