On the Subject of Children

I ruminate frequently, as I am alone much of the time, and that makes me quite unusual, in the grand scheme of things. Very few women at my stage of life have even a few spare minutes 4 themselves to indulge, sleep or even take a luxurious bath! Or to really cook, assemble complex dishes, of far flung ingredients, travel, or make plans for travel, for yourself, or occasionally, w others too, who r invited as guests. My female friends who r all around me in age, give or take 3 yrs, all of us from 56-60 now, r all mothers and have been or r currently wives, have had children…and this gives me pause.

I HAVE MISSED THAT BOAT IN LIFE. I tried, of course: dating, serious romances, even a one time Black gent who was angling for a coming inheritance, when he cared for my father in a hospital. He was about to take me to buy an engagement ring the next day…but I am alternately cursed w a deliberative nature, that looks at both emotion, plus the logic of the situation, and whether it is a good fit. After all, marriage is a multi-factorial decision, not easily taken into, on a whim, say, wow, I’m in love! That’s it! Let’s get married! Nope, Marsha is very discerning, and knows this is not her way. So that offer went to the scrap heap as well, rather quickly too. As u age, u pick up wisdom, and also knowledge about the big picture that life is. But back to kids…

Some of u know that I offered a close friend an arrangement, that is to be artificially inseminated, when I was but age 36, in the year 2000, still fertile, presumably…and that person was already involved w another person, but was also close to me, as a friend. That friend’s partner was not comfortable w the offer, and it was also scrapped, even tho my close friend and I both wanted to be parents…it was left in the air tonight…in abeyance, indefinitely. I have never forgotten that stance the other person took, even tho I can certainly understand that it would be uncomfortable for a lady friend to be raising a child that was fathered biologically w her boyfriend. An eternal triangle that clearly does not work. Two is company, three’s a crowd, yup. They could go on to have their own child, independent of me. Even tho that is not what ultimately happened. My friend and I both wound up childless, biologically anyway. The lady friend had had a child prior to knowing my close friend.

And I also explored adoption, twice over. Once had an accepted home study even, in search of adopting a girl, out of foster care, from mid child ages to age 12, preferred. But no child materialized that met our criteria at that time. And the 2nd time, post my mother’s passing, the adoption agency felt that I wasn’t in a good situation then, as to taking on another family member. So I was put aside, yet again. And there was always the issue that I did have friends, really good ones even, but not any of them could be a substitute guardian 4 me, in case of my own death…and that would be devastating 4 a child in my care. I would not put anyone in such a pickle, to be delivered up to foster care, and then thrown out on the street at age 18! Nope, that’s not Marsha either. My mom died when I was 50 years old, so it was getting to be too old already, legally, and I had to also evaluate my existing health at that time. U can adopt in NYS up till age 55, but I again was ill at ease, given my iffy health status at that time.

AND SO, I ACCEPTED MY FATE: NO CHILD 4 ME. U need to be a certain type to accept anyone who offers u such an option. I have a lady friend whose only criterion was that he be a Greek man, that’s it, nothing more! And if so, she would bear him a child. And that’s what they did, getting married after the birth was accomplished. Mixed blessings, that one…aging w a teenager at home…and flagging energy. I act as a virtual aunt to all my dear friends’ children, and they r many! Of all my close lady friends, there r a total of 10 children who r honorary nieces/nephews to me. That’s a lot. Especially w regard to needs they all have. I am not however directly obligated for any of them, and there is a certain freedom in that, especially when things go wrong. I can swoop in or out at my own volition. Help from time to time; they r not my direct responsibility. I actually see the downside to parenting, when your kids r growing into adulthood, and r not able to carry their own weight financially, which is increasingly the case these days. And the college fund is either inadequate or nonexistent. How will Junior support him/herself in an increasingly expensive world that demands skills that u don’t graduate high school with? Or go off to college, get into major loan debt, and be completely unable to pay it off after graduation? Increasingly the story for millions of Americans. Nope, no way out of the family house 4 Junior. No money, well, not enough, and the bitch of it is this Generation Z kid is maybe the 1st in American history to be looking at a downwardly mobile standard of living. That is that your parents r going to be richer than u can ever hope to be, on your own. Own a home of your own? Nope, with what kind of salary, and that enormous educational debt? Or that high school diploma, a ticket to nowhere…or marriage going the way of the dodo too, as tomorrow’s generation doesn’t see the value therein, just hitching up, living together, until one of them flies the coop…and the woman is left w the children too, to fend 4 herself and them also, w no paid child care affordable or even available…this is the US of A, right? No funding for paid parental leave, none!

Yup, maybe I dodged a bullet when my time ran out on having a child. Even tho I wanted one, rather badly even. And in memory of my mother, who died on Halloween, she died w two daughters being alive and no children from either of us. She cried long and hard, as did I, for the losses of this life, as I would have been a really good mother, overall, even w my unusual ways of looking at the big picture. I always put the child’s interest first, as I did in caring for my elders, as they aged also. I did what was in their best interests, looking at it logically, even dispassionately. But I also ponder how good a grandmother she would have been, and never given that chance. In Memory of Harriett S and Gerald Newman, my parents. The bloodline ends w me, although one 1st cousin had two children, who continue as the Newman lineage.

And also, in hopes for the lady friends who did bear children, and have yet to see any grandchildren: I hope that day comes 4 u, as I do not wish to see u weep, as my mother did, at the knowledge that there will be no more of your lineage. These r very hard times we r living through, and forces beyond our control r engulfing us, simultaneously. It’s no wonder that the younger generations r disillusioned and somber. They have reason to be. Count yourself lucky if they can make it on their own, even in an apartment somewhere. And not have to ask u 4 money every month. This is increasingly a magic trick that only some few people will get.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s