(My first 6 blog posts were somehow erased. I have no idea how. For those who are interested, I am re-publishing them now. I will create a brand new post later this week)
Yesterday, I had one of the best Fourth of July holidays that I have ever had! My entire family and I attended a fireworks display in a nearby town. It was fabulous! I had the opportunity to spend time with my nieces and my nephew. At one point, I was holding a relative’s new baby. While I was holding him, one of my nieces asked: “Why didn’t you have any kids Geez?” (Geez is what my nieces and nephew call me) For me, this is a loaded question. Every time someone asks me this I feel as if I have ice in the pit of my stomach. It always reminds me that I am different from most women my age. For years, I would have no idea how to respond. These days I would normally respond with something along the lines of: “Oh, I had better things to do I guess”. Or: “Sometimes, things work out differently.” Then I would ask the person who had posed the question something like: “How about you? Did you always know that you wanted a family?” This has been working pretty well of late. Normally the person who asked is more than happy to tell me all about their family and quickly loses interest in my childless status. This time however, my twelve year old niece was asking me. She has never asked me this before. As her aunt, I feel that it is my job to be a role model for her. I have a responsibility to let her know me. So, I did the only thing I could do. I told her the truth. I swallowed hard, took a deep breath. I leaned in close to her and in a low voice I said: “Well, I tried to have kids for a really long time and I never could”. “Oh”. She said. Then I smiled at her to let her know it was ok. She smiled back to let me know it was ok. It is the only time in my life that I have ever spoken this truth to anyone and received a smile in return. Perhaps, telling her the truth will be an example. Maybe she will know that she can be honest with me when she needs to be. If she ever chooses to confide her truth to me I will not judge her. I will simply smile and let her know that it is ok.