How a Weekend of Camping Brought Me Clarity.

After the initial rush of the beginning of the school year, John and I were able to find some free weekend time to camp this fall. And it couldn't have come soon enough - I was almost to my emotional/mental breaking point - and sitting around a campfire and hiking in the woods with John provided me with some clarity on some decisions that we've recently made. BUT, before I divulge those 'moments of clarity', here are a few photos from our camping adventures - -

 It was very chilly on one of our camping trips to the Maquoketa Caves, and it didn't help that our fire was pretty wimpy. 

 No camping trip is complete without a pizza pie made in a cast-iron pie maker. De-lish! I could cook in this sucker 24/7/365. 

 Early morning walks with Manny was a highlight of our camping trip to Pikes Peak. Doesn't he look fabulous in the morning light? :) 

 On the Bridal Veil Falls trail at Pikes Peak State Park. Beautiful view of the barges traveling on the Mississippi River. 

 Manny was a little cold. 

The camper was pretty dirty, so we had to stop by a car wash to get it clean before storing it for the winter. Maybe we'll get a few more weekend trips in before Thanksgiving weekend. 

Oh, you are interested in what 'moments of clarity' I spoke of? Right. How do I say this? Well, there's no way to say this except just say it: I'm not ready to be a parent.

Yep. You heard correctly. I'm not ready.

After all that talk and hubbub about parenting (including biological, adoptive and foster), I took a moment to revaluate my priorities, goals, and 'path' I am on and I realized that children - specifically raising them - are not a part of my immediate future.

After talking with John - who is very, very supportive and understanding of my new choice - I came to the understanding that I probably wanted to be a parent so badly because everyone else was doing it.

Yep. Lame. I know.

Many of my friends and colleagues are starting their happy little families, and seeing their lives transform and change made me think that that was the next step for me. You know what I'm talkin' about, right? John and I dated for several years, obtained our post-secondary educations, were married, bought a house (and a dog!), found jobs, etc...so the next step is to start a family, right? Wrong.

I bought into all that hype about 'the next step' in life. WTF was I thinking?! There is no 'next step'!! And there sure as hell is no 'next step' where society is concerned - - I determine what I do next in life, not mainstream America. I will not be marginalized, dammit! (Ok, I'm getting a little loopy, I know. But seriously, though...) I basically thought that because all the cool kids were doing it, I had to as well. I thought it was the natural thing to do given the place John and I were at in life.

I think that's part of my confusion, too - - John and I are in a great place in life. We're financially stable, we have hobbies and interests that we can pursue, we have decent jobs, we also have a lot of traveling and recreation goals planned for the next year. It might sound selfish, but I'm not ready to give that up yet. I still want to savor our marriage and all of the things we want to do together. And even though it might be natural to have kids (biological, adoptive, or foster), I don't think it's natural for us right now.

As for the future, well, we have a few plans. I am still looking to get out of education, and John is getting even more involved with his job. We are still going to keep up our foster license and all of our necessary certifications. We'll probably take respite placements (for foster parents who need a 'sitter' for a few hours, to a few days) if our busy schedules permit. John and I will also do a little traveling here and there. But most of all, I think our plan is to not have a plan.

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