Getting back to that encyclopedia thing. I thought for some time on what to do for this particular letter. I thought about computers, but most of you who visit regularly have a passing familiarity with my thoughts and experience on the subject. Then I thought about Carbs and/or Chocolate – two things to which I am severely addicted. But again, this is stuff you already know about me. Then I got to thinking about why I blog, which is a way for me to journal and put myself out there. The subject of Child popped into my head, and that was it. Then it was just a matter of finding the time to write the post when I was in a contemplative enough mood to actually write something worth reading. So, enough of my babbling and on to the post.
Me as a Child
We were all children at one point, and I have mixed feelings about my childhood. My parents divorced when I was very young, and while I knew growing up that things weren’t always as blissful as people say a childhood should be, I didn’t know exactly what it was until I was older. But that’s neither here nor there. The thing that sticks out most in my mind about me as a child was that I never really felt like a child. I preferred the company of the adults around me to the kids my age. As a result, I didn’t have tons of friends. I had a few, but I tended (and still have this tendency) to stick to one on one rather than groups of people.
I was happy enough, but a lot of times I was somewhere else. I often felt like I should have been somewhere else – in another time, perhaps. A lot of the books I read took place or were written during the early part of the 20th century, and I felt a sense of belonging in them. Nowadays I would have been described as having an “old soul.” Modern clothes, with acid washed jeans and high top sneakers, didn’t suit me. Funny that now I am almost always seen in jeans and comfortable shoes.
Since I always felt out of place as a child, uncomfortable in my own skin, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-20s that I started to feel more comfortable. I distinctly remember feeling like I had grown into myself. My real-life age was reaching the age that I had always felt I was. This is when I finally felt comfortable enough to live my life for myself, and things have been getting better and better ever since.
Children in My Life
I am the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family (at least until it was revealed that I had some older cousins, but that’s another story). I’m older than my sister by 16 or so months, my cousins by 3 and 5 years, and younger cousins by 17 or more years. I loved helping out in a caretaker type role. Then when I was in college, my little sister had a baby. She had 2 more after that, and today, as of this writing, Bubba is approaching 15, Messy J will be 9, and Mia is 19 months. I spent lots of time with them, especially Bubba, and I feel very close to all of them. I do wish I could spend more time with them, but both Sis and I decided to move away from home, in different directions. Being an Aunty really is the best, though.
For the longest time growing up, I wanted to have children. I felt a certain dissatisfaction, an unfulfilled part of me that said “have kids.” But then I got older, and older still, without any prospects on the horizon. I didn’t want to be a single mom, so I kept holding out, looking at prospective partners and trying to determine their suitability as a provider and parent. But nothing ever worked out.
When I moved to Las Vegas, I made the decision not to look for anyone. I was just going to enjoy life and see where it took me. I did, though it took a long time to make some friends. Vegas can be a tough town for that due to its transient population. But eventually I did meet some people who had similar interests, and things took off. I still held to my decision to not deliberately look for someone. I felt that when it was time, it would happen. Sure enough, it did, and I met FH. Let me tell you, when you get all worked up about meeting someone so that all your goals can be met, you forget to live your life. I decided to have fun and live life, and I’m glad I did.
When FH and I met, his experiences told him that it was best to get it out right out on the table, so that’s what he did. He went through the major things that are usually big enough to be dealbreakers, and one of those things was children. He said, in no uncertain terms, that he’s not having any, not on purpose or accidentally. I said OK, and knew I had to decide for myself.
. . . Or Not
I went through all the thoughts that had come through my mind over the years. As a younger adult, the only thing I wanted to be was a wife and mom. Pursuing that dream didn’t work out so well and I was constantly disappointed. When I moved to Vegas and began really living life, I quite enjoyed my life. Sure, I was a bit lonely for awhile, but overall, I liked the life I had created for myself. Plus, I’m getting older. I turned 34 yesterday, and it’s only a very short time before I reach that critical age – 35 – that automatically turns a pregnancy into a high risk one. So I thought and thought some more. I talked with FH through the process, and being the great guy that he is, was careful to be supportive of my thought process without pressuring me in one direction or another. But then I thought, hey, I really like my life. I like it the way it is now.
I thought some more and came to a few realizations. I love being an Aunty. I get to love the kids and play with them, and they are always excited to see me. I get to hear “I love you! I miss you!” all the time, and I’ll never have to hear “I hate you! You’re ruining my life!” As an Aunty, I get to have all of the fun and none of the grief. Sure, I do worry about the kids and want to do whatever I can to make sure they grow into adults that people love to have around because they are that awesome. I want them to feel loved. But I don’t want to put my life on hold to do it.
Then there was another thought that occurred to me. What if I just wasn’t meant to have children? I admit, I’ve been less than careful in the past, even at times when my activities should have stopped the crimson tide for awhile. But it never happened. If it was to be, I thought, then it should have. It happened with my sister when she was less than careful. But not me. I’ve never had a professional determination on this and I’m not going to find out. This is one of those things that I am happy to leave to fate.
In the end, I decided that I was not only comfortable, but relieved with the decision to not have children. At this point, I feel like if I were to have them, it would be because that’s what I’m obligated to do. And I know that there are some of you reading who feel that it’s my job as a woman to reproduce. If it happened when I was younger, I would have done it whole-heartedly. But now that I’m older and it’s not happened, I’m glad. I don’t think I have the patience for it. My sister, who started when she was 17, didn’t do so well as a mom for quite some time. She messed up with them, and a lot of people said that it should have been me having kids instead of her. But now that she’s older and has grown up and settled down, I see that she’s a pretty darn good mom. And to that I say, better her than me. I think it would have driven me crazy if I had them.
I do have an aunt and uncle – Aunt Bird and Uncle N Period – who never had children. I don’t remember thinking that it was unusual when I was a kid. I liked going to visit them and even as an adult, I’d spend time with them when I had a vacation or long weekend. I quite enjoy their company, and have always felt very comfortable at their house. Looking at that with the perspective I have now, perhaps that was a clue. Reading this blog post is likely the first that many who are close to me are hearing about this, but it’s not always easy to talk about. People who have children will tell me that it’s the most rewarding experience they’ve ever had. I don’t doubt that for a minute, and seeing the people around me happy is what matters most to me. Having children of my own is not for me. I’m happy to spend time with my cousins, nieces and nephew when I can, and some of my friends have some really cool kids. But at the end of the day, I’m happy to come home to the most amazing man ever and spend time alone with him, just the two of us.