2016-06-30
This article originally appeared at Heartwarmers.com.

I'll be turning 40 soon!

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

While explaining this to a friend of mine, I laughingly gave the example of "I've never had a baby shower, so someone would have to bring a baby gift. Then I'll donate it to the nursery at the church." I was smiling 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 my 20's that I couldn't have children was devastating. I immediately left the child care field and went to work building cables for the B-1 Bomber! The physical, repetitive labor was very good for me. Towards the end of the three years, I found that I was just borrowing my co-workers' children to do things with.

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

I'm not sure when it all changed.

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

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

Carissa lost her first tooth at my house and no one was ever a better Tooth Fairy. I hosted an exchange student from Germany last year and got to shop for prom dresses. I even cried when she gave me a locket with her picture 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 she gave 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!

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