I have been married for eleven years to my wife. She floors me everyday with her beauty, her grace and her love. It hasn’t always been the easiest life together but I think we are finally hitting our stride.
When people are married for a few years I think it is normal for friends and peers to ask the ever probing question, “Are you planning on having any children?” I get the question, I really do. There’s an unwritten expectation that one gets married, starts a family, builds a little community of people with similar traits and the earth’s population grows just a bit more. It’s a question people ask with the expectation that a joyous celebratory answer is coming.
However, when a couple have been together for more than a few years, let’s say five to give an arbitrary number, it is less likely the answer will be so joyous or celebratory. When I meet someone who has been married for this long I make an assumption. Either they don’t want kids (at this time OR ever) or they can’t have them. So, I don’t ask. I know I don’t like the question so I assume they may not either. If they offer the information in the course of a conversation I engage the discussion but if not, I find there are plenty of other things to talk about.
Now, at eleven years of marriage, when people ask me the kid question after finding out the length of our nuptials I mostly just shrug it off but what I want to ask in return is, “When’s the last time you had a truly great bowel movement?”
To me it seems just as personal and inappropriate.
I get that they don’t see the correlation but I do. I don’t like having to go through the whole thing.
Do you have kids?
We aren’t able to make the people?
(sometimes this next question comes… sometimes)
Is it you or your wife who has the trouble?
(This question, oh this question. I can’t believe this question.)
Well, have you ever considered adoption?
Yes but it isn’t for us.
Questioner has no where to put this information and the conversation is over.
My wife and I continue to live a wonderful life.
My brother in law posted on his facebook yesterday that his greatest birthday wish was for a couple of friends who had a baby and it didn’t look like the child was going to make it. He asked people to pray for the family. Several reposts and many prayers later the child died. It was a heavy blow. I was struck last evening and into this morning with the fragility of life and delicate nature of death and God and good and evil and why and what for!
See, I’ve been praying for sometime for something important to me and it happened the other day. I don’t know how much of it was God’s intervention or how much was my willingness to walk into something new and exciting or a combo of both or sheer dumb luck but I am confused with this outcome of this child who was born to two people ready and willing to love this child for all time.
The parents mentioned in the above act, the ones who lost their son less than twenty four hours after his birth have three other children. Each of these three is a special needs child. They already have a difficult journey. I don’t know them but I would be willing to bet they love each of these three girls with all they have in their hearts.
I know others with similar situations.
I know a couple with an amazing young boy who lost their second child during the pregnancy.
I know a family of nine with one son who has special needs. When I see him I light up inside. Despite the pain and discomfort he is almost always experiencing the is a smile that fills his face.
I know a couple with a beautiful daughter and an amazing son. The son is confined to a special wheelchair as he has cerebral palsy. I get some of the most basic and beautiful wisdom from this young man. That couple have recently taken on two young children from Child Services to add to their family. They aren’t going for the “easy” life, they’re going for the good.
I know a family who just adopted a baby from another country.
I know a couple who adopted a child from Asia just shy of two decades ago. Then they finally got pregnant. Their youngest, in high school has to use a rigged up walker to get around and the elder just got diagnosed with a disease that is excruciatingly painful and causing her to lose weight at an alarming rate.
Then I also have friends who seem to have it all going well. Great jobs, beautiful kids, nice houses and the lot.
I don’t know what’s fair. I don’t know how or why or even if God is heavily involved in all of this all the time.
I do know that I believe in a God of love and compassion and I believe that God is watching over creation wanting us to help each other out.
Finally, I think back to they way post began. I love my wife and she loves me. For that I am grateful. My friends in any of the above paragraphs love their families very much. I know this. I see it in their eyes as they react to or talk about them.
So, even in the confusion of the pain I find a love without boundary.