This afternoon a good friend of mine from church hosted a family-friendly get-together for a group of us. I was going to bring Niece and Neff, but Neff was sadly ill and Niece wouldn't go without him. So Husby and I went alone.
It was very family friendly. As well as my friend's family (her oldest is my Goddaughter, now nicknamed Miss Crazypants - she managed to chew through a glowstick and get wedged in the toilet in the time I was there. This is about normal for her - she's a bundle of mad, joyful energy), there were the slightly older children of another couple (both of whom I've known and looked after since tiny-hood in my previous job in a nursery) and another couple and their new son. (These weren't the only guests, but those with children present)
All of them were kids I know well (except the baby - I haven't had that much time yet; he's only 11 weeks old), love and have strong bonds with.
We played in the garden in the dark and one of my very close friends and I kept watch, regulated the madness and joined in with football, ribbon-waving, tickle-wrestling and sliding on the slidey patches (and keeping an eye on the toddler). We picked them up when they fell, cautioned slowing down/not kicking the ball so hard/WATCH OUT FOR THE BABY!/other grown-uppy type things.
This week, the first week back after Christmas, when offices have been open and people have been contactable, has only been a little fruitful. I now have an appointment at the end of February with the man whose office I was sitting in when he told us such negative things a while ago. We are still trying hard to reserve judgement but this evening, whilst wonderful, made me jealous/envious/whatever.
I know it's not attractive. I know I'm not meant to covet, but I do. When friends are pregnant, I covet. When I see the beautiful relationships between these precious children and their parents, I covet.
I definitely don't want to avoid situations where I get to spend time with children I know. I don't want my friends to feel uncomfortable around me (though this may be somewhat inevitable - I don't know how I'd respond if the situation was reversed). I don't want to exclude myself or stop enjoying the good things which come from hanging out with lovely families - I wouldn't miss it for the world.
To use the second Dictionary.com definition of covet, I wish especially eagerly for the time when I have that; any of it. Whatever part of it Husby and I might be allotted. Hopefully we will have natural and adopted children, but so be it if there are no natural children in our future - I just want to know.
Because once I know, we can get on with it. There will be progress and I won't feel such heartbreak in the midst of enjoying the time I spend with these wonderful children who aren't mine.