A year ago this Thanksgiving we transitioned our son to a full size bed. I remember the “do we or don’t we” decision making process. At 2 1/2 he had long physically outgrown his crib but it hadn’t really dawned on him that he could climb out. And, it never really did. But he needed to be in a bigger place to sleep comfortably and we were going back and forth about when to convert his crib. So, even though I worried about what this would do to our glorious two year pattern of great overnight sleep, it was time. And, it was much ado about nothing. He slept great his first night in his big boy bed, he napped great the next day, and has been sleeping as he always had ever since.
I was making his bed this morning which is something that I actually enjoy doing. Maybe I’m weird or maybe it’s the conditioning of having to make my own bed from a young age, but there is something lovely about making a bed for someone else. As I was doing so, the thought struck me, “I have my son’s bed to make”. And, with that benign thought, a door of guilt cracked open to reveal something that has been hanging around in the corners of my mind. Part of my struggle with deciding to adopt is that I feel guilty for wanting more than I already have.
Even though I have seen my own share of losses (six first trimester miscarriages), and have endured more than a fare share of fertility treatments thereby having seemingly paid my dues to Infertility, a struggle that has taken so much from me, the truth is, I have my son. I.have.my.son. And, while there is so much healing and forgiveness and power in that, perhaps, there is some lingering guilt, too. And not for having him, but for wanting more of what I have in him by having another.
And, with so many of my friends, both irl and url, struggling through continued treatment to have their much dreamed about and hoped for child, or, worse, suffering through heart breaking & life altering late term losses, I feel guilty for struggling at all with the decision to adopt. Meaning, I wrangled so desperately with a decision that I consider my good fortune to even have to make while others are still in the The Struggle. I am so fortunate to have this path to pursue in our long awaited journey to another child and I am already blessed beyond measure for the gift that is my son. Yet, when I am doing some of the more monotonous parenting tasks like washing and folding his clothes, picking up toy after toy, cleaning up a spill or other such mess, or wiping his runny nose, I am always grateful to have his clothes to wash, his toys to pick up, his messes to clean up, and his nose to wipe. I am humbled, often to tears, at how much this true bundle of joy that is rapidly becoming a big boy, saved me. How could I not want more of this?
I don’t feel that I’ve done a good job of conveying the yin yang of guilt and gratitude but I did want to acknowledge that they do co-exist and creep out at the most unsuspecting times.