This article originally appeared at

I'll be turning 40 soon!

I am so excited by this prospect that I'm planning this big themeparty! The theme will be "I've never...."

While explaining this to a friend of mine, I laughingly gave theexample of "I've never had a baby shower, so someone would have to bring ababy gift. Then I'll donate it to the nursery at the church." I wassmiling through this little explanation, until I saw the look on her face.

With tears in her eyes she said, "That's so sad"!

Well, there was a time when I felt that way too. Finding out in my20's that I couldn't have children was devastating. I immediately left thechild care field and went to work building cables for the B-1 Bomber! Thephysical, repetitive labor was very good for me. Towards the end of thethree years, I found that I was just borrowing my co-workers' children todo things with.

My first and only love was the children. I had a lot of time to thinkabout all of the things I had been cheated out of. I would never hold anew born baby in my arms. I would never rock my baby to sleep. I wouldnever get to sing lullabyes. I would never get to watch my child leave fortheir first day of school. I would never get to be the tooth fairy! Iwould never get to talk about boys, or proms, or pimples! Yes, I felt thatI was going to get cheated out of a lot. I would never get a Mother's DayCard!

I'm not sure when it all changed.

I don't think there was one specific moment when I realized that I hadmore children than any mother could possibly ever have! And, that's theanswer I gave to my friend.

Smiling, I explained that as long as I work in the nursery, I willhave babies to rock and sing to. As long as I am a Head Start teacher, Iwill have first days of school. Working with the youth will give me plentyof experience with teenagers.

Carissa lost her first tooth at my house and no one was ever a betterTooth Fairy. I hosted an exchange student from Germany last year and gotto shop for prom dresses. I even cried when she gave me a locket with herpicture in it, engraved with one simple word on the front, "Mom".

I still have it and wear it, and I also have the Mother's Day card shegave me. All treasures.

My babies are now growing up and having babies. Soon I'll get to have"Nana" experiences. It doesn't matter that we don't share the same genes.What we do share is a lot of love.

Truth is, I'm having a hard time finding 40 things I've never done.It's hard to find them when you're happy, productive and living your dream!