Little joys at unexpected times

Just before we married, Bob and I attended the Catholic Church’s mandatory reproduce-early-and-often class, more typically called Pre-Cana. When it came time during the class to declare our intentions on the number of children we wanted, Bob listed three. I wanted one.

The lovely couple leading the class extolled the virtues of getting pregnant right away (they did during their honeymoon, they giggled) and dispensed some practical, if unconventional, advice on how to do it. Our son arrived a month after we celebrated our first anniversary (with some credit to Robitussin DM.) A few years later, our daughter arrived. With a boy and a girl, Bob and I decided our family was happy and complete despite his early wish for three children.

But in 2001, I found myself sobbing in the kitchen one night after running out to Walgreens for a pregnancy test. I was pregnant again, a definite oops. I love being a mom, but I was 38 and my demanding job at the time drained every ounce of my energy and awake time, leaving me nothing to give to my two little ones, let alone a new baby.

But as in life, such silly despair turned to joy quickly enough. We settled on a name, made room in our hearts and our too-tiny house and joked about how old we’d be when she graduated from college. Zoe, which means life, has certainly lived up to her name. From her 12-minute rush through labor to her non-stop talking and moving and her hilarious look at life, she is a skinny, blonde bundle of joy oblivious to the fact that she is wearing out her old parents.

This month, you will read about other families who had similar surprises. In fact, federal statistics show more than half of the pregnancies for women over 40 are not planned. Planned or unplanned, there’s no doubt about the little joys children bring to our lives every day.

I cherish our oops and celebrate being a mom every moment. I know you celebrate being a mom, too, even on days when you don’t feel like you are doing things exactly by the book.

I wish all moms a happy Mother’s Day.

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