As a woman of a certain age (see last post) without children and, thus, without grandchildren in the pipeline, I move in an interesting world, populated by other women like me and by those who just can't understand my choices. I have managed to thumb my nose at my obligations to both past generations and society, yet still remain happy, centered and fulfilled. Horrors and how down right rude.
Although I can name as many friends and colleagues without children as with, there still hangs that giant question of "WHY NOT??" when I must admit I have failed to produce the next generation. I get it more from those I encounter of other cultural and ethnic backgrounds than my own, yet my homey white folks ask it, too. There is almost a pity from them when I tell them "it just didn't happen". That's a lot easier than explaining I assumed I would have them, I probably meant to have them, then made life choices that obviously led to not having them, so maybe I didn't really want them afterall and if I didn't want kids, well.... what kind of WOMAN am I??!
I had a close friend for decades who, once she and her husband decided to adopt a child at age 49, also decided that I -the childless one- was too jealous and envious of their obvious good fortune and windfall to have my bad karma in their lives any more. Good fortune and windfall wouldn't be the first words that come to my mind when given a child (okay, so "given" after tens of thousands of dollars were paid - they really, really, REALLY wanted a child) from another part of the world and obliged with the future of said child for the next 20 plus years at their ripe old age of 49.... She is thrilled to take that on, as are many others and God bless 'em!!
So sue me, Angelina, Madonna and said former friend. I wish you all the best and thank you for saving these children from what truly would have been a tough and possibly terrible and short life. I wish the same for all those men and women who want to do that. Yes, please save the children! Just stop thinking the rest of us are jealous of you and want to do it, too.
Now, don't think I don't like kids. I do. I like them a lot, in the right place and time. I love other people's kids (man, do I love that Amelia Paris Blavin-Kakone!!) and I love spending time with them and then, giving them back. I love shopping for them and being the aunt who brings presents and laughs. I love playing Chutes-n-Ladders with them or watching "Little Mermaid", but I don't have to watch it 37 times. I'll happily be your kid's Auntie, too. It's a role that suits me. I'll buy their girl scout cookies and school wrapping paper, I'll donate to their walk-a-thons and help raise money for their acquatic center. Since I don't have my own, think of how much MORE I can give to yours.
And you know what else? I get to lavish my nephew with love and fund raising dollars and still travel with my husband to far flung lands without worrying about babysitters. I can meet up with friends or colleagues for dinner without worrying about whether or not the family will eat in my absence. I can splurge for the mani and pedi without worrying I won't have enough for the soccer uniform. I can give to the charities of my choice (City of Hope and MS Society, by the way) more freely and not be concerned that I just spent Junior's college tuition.
Selfish? Maybe. Resigned? Possibly. Happy? Most definitely.