So cute, right? I thought so.
I do not want another baby. I’m cruising toward 44 (that number seems like magic!) and the next chapter of our life story is keenly on my mind. Our son is nearly out the door and I’m thinking about what comes next for me. Because despite the writing and the day job and all the creating on Mireio, my calling for the past 17 years has been “Mom.”
And I’d like to think that I’ve been good at being a mom.
That isn’t going to stop, but it’s evolving. My role in his life is changing: I’m now a sounding board on social situations and an in-house college advisor. But, he’s also starting to consider his next chapter (His mother has odds on the Mathematics department FTW) and he needs me less. IZ and I know, it’s just a matter of time. And as we walk closer to the edge of an empty nest, the old wounds find their way to the surface.
Not in the claustrophobic way they once suffocated my day. I no longer yearn or dream or pine. I’m long past being angry about our fertility issues. Instead, our conversations drift to, “I wonder what it would have been like. . . ” And providing cautionary tales to my Youth Group on loving your sibling, because not everyone gets a sibling.
But if someone handed me a child tomorrow, I would give up sleep and food and sanity to do it all over again. Because I will forever mourn the loss of what could have been. What was rightfully my dream.
Unlike people who choose “Oh, no, we only want two, three, four…” I didn’t make that choice. My body did. And while it is a bitter truth, there is also the grace of the reverse: it is a miracle I ever carried any child to term. That I survived the process is also the result of prayer.
But I am human. And I am greedy. And I wanted desperately to defy my odds and I tried and tired and tried, until the untold losses were just too much to bear.
Somewhere in the process of letting go, I placed my hopes and dreams on becoming an auntie. I didn’t do it consciously… it just happened. A way of making myself feel a little bit better about the loss of a dream. But it is too much of a burden to put on the shoulders of one baby nephew. And as it turned out, he wasn’t to be mine either. So, the losses are greater than anticipated.
This is life. We cannot always dodge the trauma. Nor can we expect others to understand. Sometimes, we must mourn our losses. And then pick ourselves up and move forward. Not on. Never on. Just forward.
So, I coo over babies I meet, I dote on other people’s children, I whisper into the ear of my own child, “No pressure, but 4 grandbabies would be nice.” I make promises to myself and Geo about who I will be as a grandmother. And I recite the names that were not: Henri, Francois, Jean-Phillippe. (Henry, Frank, and Jack to join our Geroges) Remember, remember, remember.
Somewhere in a parallel universe I am a mother surrounded by all of her children: no losses in sight. I’m probably sleep deprived and harried and not nearly as organized as I would imagine.
In this universe, I am gently holding my memories of what could have been.