This was never something I wanted. From the time I was a little girl, an only child isolated in an island of boring adults, I never liked children. They seemed tedious, simple. Children never talked about politics or strategy. They existed in an alien world of make-believe. Don’t get me wrong. I was a creative child, but instead of pretending to be a princess – or worse, mommy – I spent hours reading and writing tales. I knew that when I grew up, I was going to focus my energy on realizing the adventures that only existed in my imagination and the pages of my stories, not on wiping poopy bottoms.
K knew this from the start. He’s much more of a nurturer than I, though he might claim that we nurture in different ways, and always viewed children as a part of his life story. Yet, as the loving and open-minded person that he is, he accepted that he would not be a parent if we were together.
My parents were never really what I’d consider to be warm. While I think I’m a fairly charismatic and giving person, I’ve always felt like I was emotionally prickly like dear ol’ mom and dad. When I saw my peers’ relationships with their parents, how they could tell one another practically anything, that their parents would show up and cheer them on at school functions while I wondered where mine were, I felt lost and sad. I didn’t learn the skills that seem to come intrinsically to the openly loving families I envied and was certain that I would parent in a similarly hurtful way as my folks.
My heart leapt the literal moment that I met her. We’ll call her Mae, the bubbly, brilliant sprite who is our dearest friends’ daughter. When we went to visit our friends in the hospital, literally hours after Mae’s birth, I was afraid to hold her. I did not want to break someone or something that I had immediately sensed was perfect. As Mae grew older, reached different milestones, and turned into a leggy, athletic, creative toddler, my love for her also grew. I felt myself changing and surprising myself. When Mae looked like she was on the verge of stumbling, I instinctively reached out to steady her. When she seemed fussy, I would sing or talk to her, and my heart would swell as she smiled back in return. I was connecting with a young person. Mae had changed everything.
After several brutally honest and tearful conversations with K and Mae’s parents, and a lot of self-examination, I came to the realization that I
couldn’t wouldn’t risk missing out on a life-altering, amazing connection with a young person because I was fearful of being like my parents. I am a strong, self-assured woman who has made my way in this world with the help of chosen family like K and our dearest friends, and the journey of parenthood would be no different in that regard.
This was never something I wanted, and now, I can’t imagine wanting something more than this.