Monday, June 11, 2007

Kids

I have always loved children. I'm a big kid myself. I always assumed I would have my own children. But about 10 years ago (when I was in my mid-30s) I really sat down and thought about it...

I didn't have a partner and had never been with someone who was really father material. So, being in my mid-30s, I started to talk with my gyne about other possibilities. I was thinking of artificial insemination because I wanted to have the experience of childbirth (thinking that everyone should try all the delights of life at least once) and I didn't want to chance the problems with the traditional insemination way (i.e., potential conflict with the father even if done as friends or whatever). My gyne handed me a pamphlet that talked about "elderly mothers" (i.e., mothers over 35). It was daunting. It made me think about WHY I was wanting a child. Yes, I love children. Yes, I am good with children. Yes, I have the financial wherewithal to have a child as a single parent. I owned my own home and had space for a child. BUT. But it started to seem really selfish to me to have a child just to have the experience. (And for any of you reading this who have decided to take this path, I am awed by you...yay for you! Your children come into the world loved and wanted and many kids aren't.) So I started to explore other possibilities...

I looked at adoption...both here and abroad. I liked this idea better than artificial insemination for the same reason that I prefer adopting older (not baby) pets. These kids need homes. They already exist. They are beautiful souls. But then I wavered for another reason...I didn't want to make the choice to have a child and deny the child a change to have a father (or, to be politically correct, a co-parent). My father was a gem. A dream daddy. How could I take a child and possibly deny the child the chance to have that beautiful male parent (or co-parent) energy?

Finally, I looked at my life. My life was (and is) pretty darn great. I am attached to my life and my freedom. I realized that I was probably too selfish and set in my ways to adjust easily or happily to a baby/kid full-time in my life. At about the same time, I became an auntie for the first time. I also adopted a dog -- and spent the first night of his life with me (he was one and a half) crying in my backyard because I had to crate him. I realized that disciplining a kid would be even harder than disciplining a dog. And all this stuff added up to one thing: I had plenty of kid energy in my life and having those kids not be my own allowed me a special freedom to love the kids on my own terms -- and not have to be a disciplinarian! ;-)

All of this comes up because I got to spend some really fun time with one of DB's daughters (Teacher Daughter) yesterday. She called me in the morning and asked if I wanted to go check out the new Steve & Barry's in my neighborhood with her and her 4-year-old daughter. Even though I needed to get to the gym and start packing, of course I said "yes"! ;-) (I managed to get to the gym and pack some before we went.) We had a wonderful afternoon -- we even got to spend some time talking about serious stuff (family and relationships mostly) while Cutie Pie granddaughter enjoyed some post-shopping ice cream -- chocolate on the back, vanilla on the front, a/k/a swirl :-). At the end, we were in the Sanrio (Hello Kitty) store at the mall and I told Teacher Daughter that I really love her dad (duh, I'm sure that's obvious) and I really am so lucky to be in their family. She said "we love you too...I just wish you were around when we were growing up." That is probably the most wonderful compliment I have ever gotten. I almost burst into tears all over the Hello Kittys and Badz Marus. I told her that I did too (because they had a hard time with their stepmom), but that the bright side is that I didn't have to go through their teenage years...LOL!

I am so grateful for this bounty of love that I am able to give and receive. :-)

Elle n'est pas belle, la vie?

1 comment:

Lori said...

I just want you to know you articulated all of the reasons I hesitated in having a kid. And I had the excuse that I was married and in theory had a partner. But deep down, I would have been a single mother in many ways.

You and Denise remind me of so many ways all of us (with or without kids) can help other kids without having to have "the experience." I'm really glad DB's daughter told you that.

My stepmother-in-law is an angel to my in-laws and I know that they appreciate all of the things she did for their father AND the things she did to keep their family together. My father-in-law has passed away but Jean has kept the family together more than anyone else. We all feel about her the way DB's daughters feels about you. What a wonderful gift you got. (And you deserve it too!)