I married Bobby when I was 22 years old--that had always been the plan. I was ready to settle down after finishing college.
I worked at a comfortable, well-paying job for a few years after marriage, and Bobby did too. We were able to save money, buy the perfect starter house for our family and go on many fun adventures. While working at this comfortable, well-paying job, I also found the time to write and publish my first book. While not a New York Times Best Seller, the book did well. We agreed we were stable enough for me to quit my full-time job and focus on writing. But first, we decided to have a baby.
And since baby-having is as easy as deciding, of course we conceived easily. During my easy, perfect 40-week pregnancy, I worked from home on my second book. We were living comfortably off the royalties and I was able to write freely, exercise at will (of course I only gained 12 pounds during this pregnancy!), and add to our perfect little family.
The baby was born with no complications. We loved having a newborn. My second book was met with great success, so I was able to take a complete break from working and raise our child full time (naturally while keeping up with my exercising and writing for fun). Nine months later, we'd decide to conceive again--wanting our first two children to be close in age.
Our second child was born exactly eighteen months after our first (of course, we planned for a summer baby), and our little family of four was beautiful. Since I was an absolute natural at motherhood, both children slept through the night from day one, took naps on schedule, and ate like champs. Once the baby was six months old, my parents graciously offered to watch both kids two days a week so I could work on my third book, keep my house looking spotless, grocery shop, and plan our immaculate dinners.
After three years family bliss, we decided to add a third child. After conceiving (easily, of course), we realized we'd need a bigger home. We bought a 1860s farmhouse just outside of town with some land, pasture, and out buildings. It was gorgeous, and the perfect setting for our children to grow up in. We had barn cats, a pot-belly pig, and some fainting goats. Our huge St. Bernard moped around outside, always begging to be let in the side door off the porch. Sometimes we conceded, and let him drool all over the house. After all, what's life without a little whimsy?
Once Baby Number 3 arrived, we easily settled in to our new life. The older children were attending pre-school and learning to help around the house. My parents still cared for them a few days a week, and I began writing Book Number 4. We had game nights with our friends, play dates, and still found time to go on fun adventures over the weekend.
A year or so later, we conceived Baby Number 4--and then decided to close up shop. After all, I was over 30 years old! It was time spend more time on myself. Being a mother of four easily fit into my life of running, coaching, writing, and anything else I wanted to do,
Several years later, when the oldest kids were nearing the end of high school, and the youngest kids just beginning, we decided it was time to adopt. We were such good parents, why wouldn't we want to share our life with needy kids? We'd started a small fund early in our marriage, always intended for adoption--and now we had plenty of money. We had the opportunity and budget to add a few more kids to our family--plus explore the possibility of becoming full-time foster parents--since it was all so easy for us, after all. We were in no hurry, so we could take our time with the paperwork and the waiting was no big deal. Whenever an agency or birth parent decided to pick us, we would expand our family for whatever new members we chose to add.
This is tough to read, right? It was tough to write. I want to say that it's really just the rambling of a dumb teenager--exhibiting obviously naive expectations for my future life and family. But really, up until a few years ago, I truly believed this is how it would all shake out. I never imagined that we would have issues conceiving. Of course, I'll admit I occasionally had doubts about my qualifications of being a good mom, but I would work it out. My kids may not sleep perfectly through the night or be champion eaters...but surely I would at least have kids...right? I may not lose all of the 12 pounds (ha!) of baby weight instantly and my body shape might change...but at least the weight and stretch marks would be scars of a body growing another human--not excess weight from the stress of trying to have a baby.
I'm not going to have four kids (and four published books) by the time I'm 30, give or take a year. At this rate, I'm really, really hoping to have one kid before 30. It would be a miracle if I had two (like a call-the-Vatican, immaculate-conception-type miracle).
So...what was your life plan? Was it as ridiculous as mine? No? No one could possibly have thought something as ridiculous as this? Yeah, that's probably true.