The Spectrum (so not The Matrix)

I have a name! Remember this post?

Well, a facebook friend was posting about her college-age child and toddler. And it sparked the right name: Spectrum Parenting.

For me, this name means life didn’t go exactly according to plan (or MY plan anyway) and my two biological kids are 17 years apart.

It means that as I stood in the doorway, excited to hear about my 16 year old’s date, I had to excuse myself because my morning sickness wasn’t confined to mornings.

It means that when we went to see my stepson play in his high school football game, I had to cheer quietly so I didn’t scare the nursing baby.

It means after reading Goodnight Moon, I could then help my daughter with her college scholarship papers.

It means as we excitedly planned for high school graduation, I was wondering if there was room in the aisles for the stroller. And I was hoping no one would think my son was my daughter’s baby instead of mine.

Spectrum parenting for me means that I had a daughter start college, a step son begin driving and a baby turn 1- all in the same summer.

I know some other moms in similar shoes- a baby after the babies are grown. I was talking with one this week. Her details are different, but we both find ourselves a bit older than other moms and with other kids pretty much grown (as grown as they ever get, anyway).

We talk about the challenges and the profound joy. And yes, even the thoughtless comments people will make.

It’s all good. It’s working. It’s right.

For us, anyway.

These are my kids. This is how I did the mothering thing. This is how it went. I planned three, three years apart. I got one. Then I got another one nine years later when I remarried, but he was all ready eight. And I then I got two who came to me as adoptive children and left a year later to be reunited with their birth mother. They carry a piece of my heart and my prayers always. And then there was the baby that barely was and never came, yet I still think about.

So much for plans.

And now I have Little Sir who will be two this summer.

And so it occurs to me that spectrum parenting applies to me in regards to having my kids from one end to the other.

But The Spectrum of parenting really can apply to us all.

To all the families loving their babies. Their babies that came exactly as planned. And the ones who didn’t.  The babies who came when the hope for a baby was almost lost. The babies who make you laugh at the idea of plans anyway. The babies who some might even say they aren’t really yours, but they are. The babies that came half grown. The babies that don’t even call you Mom, yet you mother just the same. The babies that don’t even live in your house anymore. The babies you lost and still love. The babies that don’t look like you- except on the inside where we all look the same.

So, I guess it’s the Spectra of parenting. Because it’s all one big glorious range of colors passing through the prizm of lovin’ those babies.


Whaddayathink? Are you on The Spectrum? Do you like the term? What does it mean for you?