One of the great regrets of my life is not having children.
Don’t get me wrong. I have been singularly blessed by the presence of children in my life: my nieces and nephews, their children, my three step-kids, all of my Coast Guard “kids” (and now their kids), and the children of friends, but I can’t deny that there’s an old ache under my heart and never really goes away.
I’m drawn to little kids like the old moth to a flame. It’s probably a bit disconcerting to parents who don’t know me, as I have a penchant to be one of those women who talks to babies out in public, but I can’t seem to help myself. I’m not a stalker, I’m no danger to the children, I’m not going to snatch-and-run, I just like kids. I appreciate their viewpoint on the world and their often quite open willingness to share their perspective. I like that they take you as you are, warts and all, counting you first as a friend rather than anticipating you to be an enemy.
On the other hand, I fully understand their parents’ reticence. There are too many dangerous people out there in the world for a child to live long without having survival skills drummed into them.
There’s no one to blame for my lack of children but me. I’d like to say that time and circumstance conspired against me (and they did, to a degree), but the responsibility was mine. My first marriage was to an irresponsible dweeb. After a certain amount of time I knew we were headed for divorce and that made children out of the question. I didn’t want to be a single parent, and I certainly didn’t want him getting his hands on any kid of mine. I guess I foolishly thought there would always be time enough to have a kid or two, that somehow the miraculous would present itself at the correct moment and the stars would align.
It took a long time for me to realize that stars never align. There is no “perfect” moment…not for anything. No matter how good the timing looks, there’ll always be something that can put a clinker in the mix. One must understand that and either run with it…
Or not. Sometimes there’s no going back, no picking up the pieces. And no band-aid big enough for that sense of loss.