There’s mud spots from wet boots smeared ungracefully across my wooden floor at the entrance to my house. Stacks of dishes haphazardly fill the kitchen sinks. The washtub in the laundry room is full — of dirty laundry.
And I don’t have kids.
My Dad always said that my imagination was my best friend. As I get older and look back to the old days… more and more, I think he’s right. When I was eleven, I went on a walk with my mom and sister and filled their ears with a make-believe “when-I’m-a-mommy” story.
“I’m going to have thirty-five kids!” I proudly exclaimed.
My sister laughed at me. “Are you going to adopt?”
“NOPE!” I declared vehemently. “They’ll all be natural.”
“That’s impossible!” She said.
“No it isn’t…I’ll probably have two sets of quadruplets and a few sets of twins.”
This time my mom laughed. “Wow!” She laughed again, “You’ll still be pregnant all the time, Renee.”
I thought that was cool. Why wouldn’t I want to be pregnant all the time? Pregnant ladies were pretty. I loved their bellies. I loved big families. I loved kids.
My sister couldn’t talk me out of my ideas. I was going to have a record-breaking family. I was going to be super-mom. I went home and made plans. I wrote down a list of thirty-five names I liked – first and middle, mind you – using one of the tattered Baby Name books on my mom’s shelf. (Did I fail to mention I am one of a very large family?) I planned it all out. I sat and dreamed of how we’d live in this grand old farmhouse and keep our home in perfect order.
I talked to myself and pretended I was a mom talking about my family. I wrote chore duties down next to the child’s name on my piece of paper. (Unlike real moms, I had a cheat sheet.) It was my make-believe mommy world and in my make-believe mommy world we had perfect order.
Push fast-forward about twelve years. Time flies by. Now I’m married – going on two years! I look around my house…I don’t have kids yet but it looks like I do.
But wait…maybe I do. Not kids in the baby sense. In the “I-birthed-you, you-are-mine” sense. But almost every week, I have people in my home. Often young girls at the tender age of sixteen and seventeen. They come and we talk. They leave wet spots on my floor. Sometimes I don’t have time to finish my dishes or switch laundry loads before they get here.
We’re women. We’re talking. We laugh together. We pray together. We ask big questions. We reach for something more.
I look around at my disheveled, imperfect, dirty house. I hug myself and smile.
Dream on perfect order…I’ve got better things to do.