Monday, December 3, 2007

Collecting Children

Someone asked me recently if I had kids…I laughed and said yes, many, I collect them. Curious about my answer they then asked how many…I don’t know, I’ve lost count. (I love doing this to people!) They either look at you strangely, or ask for a clarification on the collecting part…some will say, oh you’re a foster parent…NO I COLLECT CHILDREN…sometimes they collect me, it depends on the circumstances.
It all began way back in 1977, when husband #2 came home from work with a 5 year old! Yes, a lovely little five year old girl. This little girl was his business partners new girl friends 5 year old. His business partner wanted the mother to move in with him, but not the little girl. Husband #2 volunteered me to take and care for this little girl, being I had two children, was a stay at home mom at the time, and had nothing better to do.
Because the child’s safety and welfare were my greatest concern, she stayed with us for nearly six months. Her mother and I became acquainted, she visited on a regular basis. She was at the time doing the best she could with what she had to work with. She definitely loved her child.
She’s the reason I went to college…I’m not sure if she ever knew this or not. But I have her to thank for finding my “bestest” friend in the whole wide world!
Anyway, the child and her mother were eventually reunited, and I have since lost touch with them…I just count that as the beginning of my collection.
I have children. Three I birthed. Two of my present husbands. Two that are my “bestest” friends (one of which died a few years ago and I still miss terribly). One, my oldest daughters best friend, who adopted me when she couldn’t face life without having a mother (her mom had recently committed suicide)…the rest, I’ve basically collected on the way. Some have been temporary, some have been hanging around for years. I love them all. There are times I can’t get through the grocery store without running into one of the “kids”; they see my car in the parking lot and entering hollering “mom, where are you?”. There are times I get whiplash from trying to see who’s hollering “mom”.
Holiday gatherings have grown to extended proportions. This is something my present husband has learned to deal with. I never refuse extra guests. The rule is, if you know someone is alone on a holiday, either invite them to ours, or bring them some food.
I think I have the most diverse family in town…a bunch of geeks and freaks…it’s rather amusing to watch people’s heads turn in the grocery store and then answer that question…“are they all yours?” Yep! I answer proudly, all of them. I collect them!

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