"My Endless Summer"

This was supposed to be my first summer as a mom. Instead, I'm preparing for a baby that may not come before Labor Day.

Hot dogs on a picnic table, representing the author's first summer as a mom

“School’s almost out. What are you going to do with your summer?”

For the past 10 years as a teacher, I have answered this question with the response: “I’m going to be an ordinary wife.” If I’m pressed to explain the activities of an “ordinary wife” (and I usually am), I’ll give some examples: doing spring cleaning (as long as it’s done before the next school year begins, it counts as spring cleaning), trying new recipes, and working on crafts (summers are the perfect time to make birthday and Christmas gifts for my 17 nieces and nephews).

Although I miss my middle-school students, I have always enjoyed the quietness and relative solitude of summer. This year, however, I dreaded summer’s onset. The difference? According to our original adoption plans, we should have traveled to China by now and returned with our daughter — the little girl who my red-haired, blue-eyed husband Brian claims is going to look just like him. This was to have been my first summer as a mom. Instead, due to circumstances beyond our control, we’re waiting for the clearing of one final hurdle before starting the homestudy.

Christmas and Mother’s Day were harder than I expected, but at least each day passed in 24 hours. The two-and-a-half-month-long summer would be unbearable if we didn’t believe that a child who is perfect for our family will be with us when the time is right. She just may not be ready yet. It also helps that I’m not waiting alone. Although we are the only ones in our circle of friends without children, my friends make sure that I never feel left out when we’re together.

In the last weeks of the school year, after being asked again and again, I became more comfortable with the question, “What are you going to do this summer?” The answer was my old one: “I’m going to be an ordinary wife.” My activities were the same, as well, but my motivation was different.

My spring cleaning consists of de-cluttering all of our closets and drawers. Brian pointed out in his kind way, as he stood in front of our spare room’s brimming closet, “You know, her things are going to have to go somewhere.”

Many of the new recipes I’ve been trying out are for Chinese dishes. I befriended someone at a local Asian grocery store, who shared her recipe for egg rolls and laughed with me when I told her about my first attempt at making dumplings — they were ugly, but we loved them anyway.

I have started crocheting a baby blanket to donate to a local counseling center for women who find themselves pregnant in difficult circumstances. With each stitch, I think about the unborn baby who will one day be wrapped in this blanket, as well as my own little girl, waiting for us to take her home. This blanket will mark our acceptance by an agency and the beginning of our homestudy. I plan to make and donate a blanket for each milestone that passes until our daughter arrives home.

This summer has been filled with many of my usual projects and pastimes, but I’ve been doing them with a renewed hope. As I clean and cook and crochet, I look forward to the many things I will do, in summers to come, not only as “an ordinary wife” but, one day soon, as “an ordinary mom.”

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Sumner
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Norwalk
CT
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La Crosse
WI
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