I smiled politely and said, “Thank you.”
In reality, I am not and barring some life changing
event, will never be a mother. If you would have asked me when I was a child or even in my late teens whether I
would have children, my answer would have been, “Of course!” I played house with my dolls like most
little girls and planned on having at least four kids, one set of twins.
Even in my early twenties, I had relationships where children were discussed. How many? What would we name them? Who would they look like? I never imagined my life without motherhood.
That was to change when a close friend of mine had her first daughter. She is a recent college graduate and I tease her that one afternoon babysitting her convinced me motherhood was not for me, but there is some real truth in the story.
It was also not like I had never changed a diaper or understood that babies and children could be a lot of work. Starting at age 11, in what would now probably be a case for social services, I frequently babysat for spending money, even watching five children all under the age of seven. Yet an afternoon spent in my late twenties with a fussy six month old who managed to turn a teething cookie into a weapon for mass destruction and I was suddenly looking at the whole motherhood thing in a new light.
Yes, babies were a lot of work, but what suddenly struck me was, it would not be for an afternoon. It would be forever.
Relationships can end, even all marriages don't last, but once you become a mother, you
are one for the rest of your life. Teething cookies becomes braces, onesies become prom dresses and suddenly you are telling the forty year old walking out the door to take a jacket because it is going to get cold tonight.
“Your biological clock will kick in,” friends told me, “And you’ll change your mind!”
But like so many things that have happened in my life, my clock didn’t follow the natural course.
My clock went backward.
I took a realistic look at who I was and what I was doing with my life and I realized I didn’t want it bad enough. If I was going to do something that was going to be forever, I felt I really had to be all in and I wasn’t. The older I have gotten, the more comfortable I am with my decision.
So today, I celebrate my friend whose daughter I babysat that afternoon. And all my other friends who have turned out some wonderful human beings. You do the forever job every day. The least we can do is set aside a Sunday for you!