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  • Christine Shuck

Dreams and Reality



This past Tuesday morning, I woke up from a dream that I was pregnant. I remember that I said in the dream, "Look, this isn't possible. I'm FIFTY years old and I went through menopause at 46, I can't possibly be pregnant!"


And in the dream, the nurse turned to me and said, "Well, you lost weight, so it looks like you ovulated again."


I don't know a ton about biology, but I do know that it doesn't work like that.


It stuck in my brain and I thought about it several more times before finally writing it off as it being about the revamping of our home in the suburbs and turning it into an Airbnb. In some ways, preparing a house this way is very similar to pregnancy and birth. At the end, you have a creation. And while houses are very different than babies, the logic made sense.


And then, two days later, the call came in...


"We have a newborn baby boy who has come into care, are you able to take him?"


I thought of the dream. I thought of my children, my life, my plans, and said, "Yes, we can take him."


You Guys Are F'ing Crazy

The next day we met Mr. Farty Pants. Yeah, I probably could come up with a better code name, but he really lets those farts rip. Such a tiny body, such an amazing digestive system.


We took him home after about two hours of delays and we have quickly fallen into a routine of diapers, food, burping, sleep, repeat. That's what newborns do, after all. And when they aren't busy doing those things, they sit there and drink in every sight, sound, smell and touch. You can see their brains growing.


One of my husband's friends wrote, "You guys are crazy. Awesome good hearted wonderful people... but F’n crazy."


He isn't wrong. I think we are all a little crazy, or broken, or maybe a little touched in the head.


Mr. Farty Pants could be with us a week or for the rest of his childhood and adolescence. I literally have no idea.


I do know this. I love his beautiful face and tiny little newborn noises. I want to fill him up with love until it seeps out of all of his pores. If I knew how, I would take all of this love and squirrel it away in a secret place inside him, one that he could tap in those dark moments that life throws at us. It would tell him he is loved, that he is worthy of love, and that he deserves all of the happiness he can find from the world around him. It would give him strength to defeat his demons and live a full life.

No Sleep Till Brooklyn!!!!

The first few days were TOUGH. But as of day 5, I think (hope) that we might be hitting a routine. Mr. Farty Pants fell asleep by 9 p.m. last night and slept until 3 a.m. Since he is in a crib just feet from our bed, I heard him begin to fuss and got up right away. The hubs, along with the precocious ninja pre-schooler who had crept into our bed once we were asleep, didn't stir. A diaper change and bottle (along with plenty of kisses and cuddles) and he was back to sleep and stayed that way until 6:14 this morning. It was MARVELOUS.


Post-Menopause Be Damned

I haven't had hot flashes in nearly two years and I went through menopause early at just 46, but damned if the hot flashes and crying jags aren't back. Babies are powerful creatures and I look at him and just can't help but love him so deeply, it is an amazing experience. Somehow, this tiny little creature seems to not only have captured my heart, but is turning back the clock on my hormones.


At midnight the other night, after he was peacefully sleeping in his crib, I turned to my husband, burst into tears, and said, "I want to keep him forever."


As foster parents, we know the first rule of fostering is dedicating ourselves to the reunification process. But I can't help but want him to stay forever, and if he does, I would be more than happy. The women in my family live long, relatively healthy lives. My maternal grandmother lived until her late 80s, despite being a life long smoker. My paternal grandmother lived until three days before her 100th birthday. I've got time for this, and I have the energy and the love, so why not?


But really folks, I didn't miss hot flashes, not at all.


Twelve Ounces and Growing Strong

I learned yesterday that he had gained twelve ounces in less than three days and the doctor was pleased with his progress. I was also shocked to learn that our little man has only one functioning kidney, but the doctor reassured me that the lone kidney is functioning perfectly and not to worry. Folks donate kidneys all the time and are fine, so we just need to be aware, and keep him healthy.


Writing Schedule, What Writing Schedule?!

Right now I'm focused on the following: Maintaining our family unit as we incorporate another soul into it. Lack of sleep is difficult, the emotions of an uncertain future certainly play into that, and we have a darling 4 1/2 year old who is feeling rather displaced in our affections.


That said, we are making progress, and the next priority is finishing the necessary work on Cottage South to get it online with Airbnb, VRBO and others, and making money.


After that, well, that's when the writing will come in. And because I have managed a pretty clear outline of where I want the second book in my sexy thriller series to go, I'll focus on that. I also have Fate's Highway (a.k.a. Schicksal Turnpike) into a developmental editor and I should hear back from her soon, along with some very needed suggestions on how I need to re-work this book to create a better product which I hope to re-release and market soon.


I'll be honest, everything takes a second chair to being there to love my children, born to me or otherwise. The writing will wait. It won't be a long wait, after all. Even now, as I write this, he is napping peacefully in the same room. I can manage both priorities once things settle.


In the End

At the end of my life, when I look back at all that I have done, I will not regret this. Whether the commitment is for a week, a month, or the rest of his childhood. And as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "It's never too late...to be whoever you want to be."


I enjoy motherhood. I look forward to watching all of my children grow and become the individuals that they were meant to be. It's not for everyone, I understand that, but it is something that makes me happy. It's a place I feel I can make a difference, and within it, there is room for my writing. It makes life feel as close to perfect as I can imagine it to be.


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