For as long as I can remember I dreamt of being a mom. My childhood was filled with hours of playing with dolls...stuffed animals...and my favorite, playing "house." Being the oldest child, I am sure I always insisted on being the "mom." (Sorry Dede...)
I had a few other dreams of roles I might fill in life. These always changed. A few that I remember:
- age 6: someone famous (doing what? I have no idea) hours of looking in the mirror...knowing I would be famous someday. I am not sure I even knew what famous meant, but it was said to have happened regularly---that I stood in the mirror and a recited the phrase..."famous Carin"
- age 8: bank teller I am not sure what it was about those ladies behind the counter or glass windows of the drive through. Maybe it was that I thought they had all of the $ in the world.
- age 11: an artist I loved to draw and I remember the sweet encouragements of my mom
- age 12: a writer I remember sharing my stories, written in a gnome journal, with my mom's cousin Randy, an English teacher, at a family event held at our house. He was gracious. :) The idea of being a writer lasted until age 14.
Unfortunately, at the age where I could have really focused on any sort of dream, high school, I let them all go. My confidence faded and my focus switched from learning to friends and social issues. School could have been easy for me, but I was distracted and lazy. I lost direction, ambition and vision. The one dream I always saw for myself was to be a mother. After a poor academic attempt at high school I took a few junior college courses, mainly because I didn't have a better idea and my friends were going. (I also became a bank teller.) Finally a spark was ignited and I decided to go on a mission. I am not sure I would have even had the confidence for that, but it was an answer to prayer...and my heart told me to go.
I set out on my 21st birthday for the missionary training center. I spent a year and a half serving, the majority of those months I spent in Argentina. It was good for me in so many ways...but one in particular was confidence. I knew that I if I could travel to another country, learn a foreign language, teach and communicate and live with people I had never met before....I could go to college.
Returning to college started out slowly, I was working full time (again, at a bank) and took a few classes a session. My first goal was to do special education or occupational therapy. I wanted to help people. Then I took a communications class that I LOVED. I had finally finished my general education courses and headed to the University. Danny and I were married now. I was still working full time as a bank manager while Danny was finishing his degree and playing football. I was sure that all of this would be interrupted and at any moment I would have a baby and become a full time mom.
A baby wasn't coming, so my first class at the University of Utah was in communications. I decided to combine the two interests and study communication disorders through the Speech and Hearing Science department. I still expected to be pregnant at any minute and drop everything to be a full time mom. I was fascinated by the sciences and was excited to be learning. I loved becoming a full time student once Danny graduated. My dream was to sit in the library in the middle of the day---during those M-F/9-5 hours that had been occupied at a bank for so many years.
During my senior year in college we were trying more serious fertility measures and nothing was working. Finally, the month before I graduated, our doctors recommended we travel to a specialist outside of UT (in CA or CO) to pursue our fertility issues further. They said they couldn't do anything for us. I was approaching graduation...without a plan. I had been sure we would be parents by then (we had been trying for 6 years), now that graduation was upon me...I had wished I had planned for graduate school. My dream of being a mom seemed to elude me no matter what I tried. I worried about why I wasn't worthy of the opportunity. I struggled not knowing what path to take.
After graduation I decided to get an entry level job in both Speech/Audiology. I was hired first at a local hospital in the "maternity ward" doing infant hearing screenings. I would test the baby's hearing the day after they were born. I wondered if my mental wellness could handle it. Would I be able to spend hours each day...facing my one dream that always stayed constant...that I never let fade away...knowing that for me it wasn't happening??? I decided to do it.
One of my first days of training at the hospital I felt queasy and sick. I remember worrying that maybe I would spread something to the babies. I washed my hands well and started learning the new job. After work I went home and called the doctor. My period was several weeks late, I was thirsty, tired...and sure that I had diabetes. The nurse asked me if I had taken a pregnancy test. I fought back tears and told her about my promise to myself that I would never take another pregnancy test again. Too many had been (-) and I couldn't face another stick to pee on. She told me to drive down (40 min. away). I felt so silly driving down there. It was just two months ago this same office told me that intro-fertilization wouldn't work. I hadn't been on any fertility treatments in months...how in the world could I be pregnant.
Without telling a soul, I headed to the doctor's office. After several hours the results came back (+)!!!!!
I don't believe in coincidences. I became pregnant one month after I graduated from college. Although those years of waiting for what I wanted most were hard, painful, soul searching years, they were some of the most precious to me in any growth I may have attained thus far. Now, to have had those experiences AND to be a mom to THREE DAUGHTERS, I feel as though I couldn't possibly ask for more. I am a better mother because of a formal education...but also the spiritual education my trials have given me.