A huge part of how I define myself is "mother". I practiced my parenting skills on my younger siblings with great success (they will almost certainly tell you differently), and couldn't wait to put my greatly developed skills to the test for real.
I'm sure much to my parents relief, I did wait. I waited until I found a wonderful husband who I knew would be a great father to my children. We discussed the matter of children and wanted a large family. We knew my spinal problems would mean C-sections, so four was going to be the limit. We were happy with this and so we put in our order for four perfect children.
Anthony's ideal was three boys and finally a baby girl. Looking down the track I felt sorry for that poor girl's potential boyfriends....but I think that was all part of Anthony's master plan.
Eleven months after our wedding, Tony was born. There was the same learning curve that comes for all first time parents, but despite the sleepless night, and moments of self doubt, we were thrilled. Tony was a delight and continues to amaze me.
Son #1 was here - all was going to plan.
Eighteen months down the track I was close to graduating university and we felt we were ready to handle another addition to our family.
Ten months later the whirlwind that is Carter entered our lives. He has such a big personality and the contrast between him and Tony added a new dimension to our family. Carter is a joy to watch as everything is an adventure to him.
Shortly after Carter's birth, back pain left me facing a second major surgery. After a bumpy road to surgery and rehabilitation, I was home with my family.
I was home with my family of four....and with the news we would not be able to have any more children of our own. The instability of my now fragile spine meant both pregnancy and carrying a small child around were far too risky.
I was okay with this when I first was told the news as I knew how hard it was for my little family to go through my surgery and two year rehabilitation, and I didn't want to put myself or them through it again.
I know that this is the right decision for us based on our circumstances. I know I have been incredibly blessed to have my beautiful boys, and to have been able to have them when we did as we had only a three year window of opportunity to have children.
But when I walk through the baby clothes isle and look at the little one piece suits, it makes me sad. When I pack away the clothes Carter has out grown, it hits me each time that he is my baby and is growing further and further from the little bundle who loved to sleep in our arms. When I see a newborn baby, I am thrilled for the parents, but a little envious that we had the decision of when our family was complete taken away from us.
I know we have options that we can look into in the future so we can add to our family. They are exciting to think about. But I love my two precious boys, and knowing how lucky we are to have them makes me want to savor these days more. It makes me want to be a little more patient, a little more fun, a little kinder, and to appreciate them for the beautiful little men they are.