Kym has a thoughtful post about adopting a motto and symbol to reflect who she is and wants to be. I'd never heard of the Adinkra symbols, but I love the look of them. The stark contrast of the black and white reminds me of the Kanji that I create with ink and brush each week. The depiction relies on careful use of white space and creating balance and contrast with the ink on paper. This seems to be a theme in my life lately and I was immediately drawn to the Adinkra symbols.
I had to think about what symbol seems most fitting. At first, I thought it might be Akoko Nan for mercy and nurturing. Right now I'm at a place in my life where I'm fortunate enough to be a mother and I'd like to continue mothering. As I look down the road at our journey into parenthood, I hope that Gboy and I will be able to add one more little one to our family, but I'm unclear how that might happen. This has been the source of some angst (have you noticed?!) as I compare myself to others who are making the journey faster and with more ease that I am. As a result I'm not sure I'm being very merciful to myself. And occasionally I'm not sure my thoughts are merciful to others (specifically I think of my poor SIL who through no fault of her own is the subject of my frustration at times).
So I carefully considered the list again. I think the symbol and motto that most appeals to me currently is Mmere Dane - "time changes" (change, life dynamics). This may not be the best description of my current state of mind, but I hope this is the direction in which I'm headed. You see, I had a sudden flash of insight the other day.
One of the things that has most frustrated me about my SIL's situation is that she makes no secret of the fact that she wants a bunch of kids. It seems that she will have no trouble conceiving/having them (update: she is in fact pregnant again and all is well with the pregnancy) and while I'm happy for her, I'm conflicted. A part of me is jealous of the way in which her life is unfolding according to her plan. At one time I had flirted with the idea of 3 kids (Gboy used to say he might like 3 or even 4!), but these days, I'm trying to be realistic. Not only about our likelihood of conception, but also of living a comfortable life with the kid(s) we have.
I'm not sure there's any way that we could ever realistically have 3 (or more!) kids and still be able to travel back and forth to see our respective families in Japan and the U.S. Airfare has to be a consideration along with daily expenses and college savings, etc. As a result, I hear my SIL saying she wants 4 kids but when I try to envision how on earth they'll afford that on her husband's salary, I can't see it. Then again, if they never travel to the U.S. or outside of Japan, living on a shoe-string budget may be perfectly acceptable for them. To me, that would be a huge loss that I couldn't envision for my family. And so, I may have to accept that 1 or 2 kids is the most we ever have (and frankly while I think I'd like a 2nd, after actually having 2 kids I might decide that was MORE than enough!) and that the trade-off is worth it.
This means accepting that I might be disappointed on some level each and every time my SIL gets pregnant. But if I know what the end goal and values of MY family is - then it shouldn't really matter what she does or how often the size of her family changes. This may be easier said than done, but I think it's possible to re-frame how I look at pregnancy and specifically SIL's pregnancies. Changes will happen in life, and not all of them will be changes that are comfortable to me, but that doesn't mean I won't get through them.
As I was laying in bed late the other night thinking about this, another thought popped into my head. I had this image of an older child - a child in foster care maybe, or maybe just another teen I mentor (something I loved doing). I was reminded of all the other ways I can care for children who might need some love and attention - things that I'm very much interested in doing and have been interested in for a long time. Things that I think Gboy might be interested in doing someday too. I guess I was just thinking that I don't yet know what life has in store for me, or for us, and that there may still be great things to come, even without a bunch of pregnancies.
I don't know what it all means or if this even makes sense. In the end, I think it all comes back to change and life dynamics and allowing things to unfold in ways that may not be clear to me now, but could be some of the most fulfilling parts of my life.