This is a maudlin (and long) post. I will admit it from the beginning. It's most likely full of self-pity and recrimination, but if I'm honest about it, that's where I'm at. Please don't worry about my sanity. I am okay. I had a discussion about "okayness" with Weed Killer today. (He is a new player. Please welcome him to the insanity of this blog.) Okay in my world means that I will keep walking. Keep trudging. Keep doing what I know I need to do. It doesn't mean I am happy and carefree "okay." It means that I will continue to do the things I know will help me heal. That is the caveat of this post. Read it carefully before proceeding.
This subject comes up once a month it seems. I will let you surmise the reason why. I am a woman. Carolyn asked me this morning what peace meant to me. I told her it meant outdoors and sunshine and water. Dirty Ben was very concerned that I was angry with him when he got to the lake on Saturday. He asked Cowgirl about it and she just laughed. She replied, "Kate is at the lake like you are on your kayak. That is the zone." He apparently had asked me a question and I just ummmhmmmed and laid back down. Because that IS my peace. It's my place. And I can lay there for hours, getting up occasionally for children begging for a snack and checking to see who needs a re-application of sunscreen. It is my peace. The place where everything goes away. It is lying on a floatie with a 10 year old, talking about nothing in particular. It is the lake. It is me.
So when she asked me what still makes me sad, I told her. It's the fact that I have wanted to be a mother since - forever. Forever, forever. I don't recall ever not wanting that. I went to college because that's what was expected of me. I planned to meet someone and get married and stay at home with my children like my own mother did. I remember January of my senior year and having the realization it wasn't happening and "Crap! I don't know what I want to do! I've never thought about it!" Because I didn't. Never thought about a career. Because my career was being a mother.
So today. Facing perimenopause. Childless. No husband in sight. Conversations about having a child on my own come to the forefront. And I can't do it. I just can't. I will reiterate time and again, I think there are some fantastic single parents out there. But I won't willingly do that. I won't. And I can't.
Through her divorce, Cowgirl is able to buy a house. I am jealous of that, but it's also something I know I don't want. I have never wanted to own anything in my single-ness. You know? When the water heater goes out in the middle of the night? The sewage system backs up. The roof suddenly leaks in a hailstorm? I can't DO those things by myself. I just can't. I can't deal with adversity on my own. I need a partner. I need someone to temper me. I need that second person there.
Yes. I have incredible friends. I AM an incredible friend. I have picked Cowgirl's kids up from daycare. I have taken Teenage Angst to Junior High dances because she didn't want her father to. I play this role. The childless woman. Who is there for everyone who needs a break. And that's why I refuse to do it myself. Because I know that first night of screaming infant will break me. And I will have no one to temper me. To come to my rescue. That's why I don't do it.
So. I try to accept it. And it's not an easy acceptance. I have always thought I would be an incredible mother. So I try my best to find ways to make that okay. I help other mothers get their children back into their custody. I hop-to when Cowgirl has a meltdown with her teenager. I am trying to make sense of it all. And in the midst of that, I cry. Because I don't understand why I don't get to be a mother.
Say all you want about nurturing and mothering my garden, the children who look up to me, the work I do to help other women get their children back. In the end, it sucks. That I don't get to do this thing called motherhood.
I googled childless women today. Most of the forums were in regards to infertility. I haven't found one about women who are childless through circumstance. It hurts. I can't tell you how much it hurts. To not have a solution to this. And there IS no solution but acceptance. And I'm struggling with that today. I don't expect you to understand. Not one bit. But the ache is there. Every month it seems these days.