Monday, November 28, 2005

Choices

My family celebrates Christmas two days after Thanksgiving. It’s the only time of the year we can all manage to congregate.

This year, a new baby was the best part of our time together.

I’ll never have a baby of my own. It was my choice. Instead, I chose to take care of children that other people couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of. I chose to help families in crisis. I chose to try to stop rape and child abuse, and care for the victims of sexual violence. I also made a conscious choice to stay with a partner who didn’t want a baby.

I don’t regret my choices, nor do I seek pity or martyr status. I simply grieve. I’ve passed the point of changing my mind, and the reality feels cold and absolute. I suppose if having a baby had been a priority to me, I would have made it happen. I must not have wanted it bad enough. Maybe I still don't, but I second guess myself when I hold this babe.

My grief is okay. This is an ordinary life cycle occurance, whereas, some people are grieving for reasons they have absolutely no control over. Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, war, etc. have left many to mourn the loss of their homes, jobs, communities, and even loved ones. Others are managing the tragedies of other life events like illness, break-ups and accidents. And, our own dear friend, Andy is dealing with the untimely death of his friend, Pacé.

The worst feeling I can imagine is loneliness. As long as I have the love and friendship of others, I can handle anything, including this very temporary achey feeling.

Besides, look at that sweet little angel baby face! Have you ever seen such a beautiful boy in your whole life?
(shhh, don’t tell anyone … he told me that I’m his favorite Auntie)

25 Comments:

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Popeye said...

I've made a similar choice. It's both something to grieve and rejoice in, I think, like most big choices. Its a path you don't take.

 
At 12:37 AM, Blogger JayneSays said...

I hear you! We, too, made the choice to be child-free (gotta re-frame it away from "childless". . .) for political, environmental and personal reasons, but then I hold my brother's kids and it wrenches my heart a little. Until they start whining, yelling and hitting, that is. We still may adopt (and probably will) one of these days. . . GORGEOUS baby, by the way! Happy holidays to you, may you find peace in your choices. . .

 
At 6:02 AM, Blogger Dick the Boomer said...

He's lucky to have you for an aunt!

Love ya, babe...

 
At 6:32 AM, Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

What a lucky baby!

 
At 7:19 AM, Blogger Al said...

T-
My wife and me made the same choice-not to be parents. We try to be the "Fun Aunt & Uncle" to our friends kids. My wife is the one who usually takes them to get their first manicure and pedicure (usually around 7 years old). We buy them the stuff their folks won't (really loud obnoxious toys) over the top presents and food that their mom & dad usually never let them eat.
The reason we did not have kids is that our child would be the one who runs around, uncontrollably, will not listen, leads the revolt of the other kids and would be the kid no one in the neighborhood would be allowed to play with.

but you look great and the kid looks adorable- I got a feeling you're gonna be the Fun aunt

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

I was never in a position to say, "I want to have a baby."
The Boy was conceived whilst on birth control; Poot was conceived after I had been told that I could no longer get pregnant.
It was however, a conscious decision to continue my pregnancies.
I find it very commendable to you, and your other readers/commenters who HAVE thought through the different aspects of having a child, and made a conscious CHOICE.

Your new nephew is Gorgeous (like his Auntie).... and oh, so lucky to have a beautiful, talented, smart, funny, independent Auntie who can spoil him rotten! ;)

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger theresa said...

Popeye - That's a very good way to look at it. There's no middle ground when it comes to kids; either you have them or you don't. As the Auntie, sometimes I rejoice when I get to drop them off at home.

Jayne - I like your re-frame, and it's nice to know you understand the heart-wrenchy feeling. If/when you decide to be a parent, your child will be a very lucky kid.

Dick - Thanks Sweetie.

Yoga - All babies should be this lucky. They should be born into bunches of love ... and they should have Aunties with big boobies to take naps on.

Al - I love your reasons for not having a kid. It sounds like you are happy and comfortable with your decision.
As for the "Fun Aunt" gig, I got that down, Babe! In fact, when I didn't make it to the last family gathering, my Mom called me after the 2nd day to tell me that she was sick of hearing the kids whine, "How come our FUN aunt isn't here?"
Thanks for having faith in me. We should trade "Fun" aunt and uncle tips.

Blaze - Your kids are lucky to have a Mom who loves them and wants them as much as you do.
Thanks for your sweet smart words.

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Larry Jones said...

Both babes in the picture are adorable...

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Ron Southern said...

My sister's grandson is 18 months and he's a tornado. If he wasn't so cute, we'd have to drown him! I guess they're all like that. He wears me out when he comes to visit!

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Laurie said...

Ohhhh... he is absolutely precious!! It makes me long for the days when mine were that tiny - that time is so fleeting.

And I agree w/what Dick said - you are going to be a wonderful auntie to him, and he's lucky to be able to grow up around your wisdom and with your love.

If you really decide that you do want a baby, adoption is a wonderful thing...
:-)

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger Kyle Stich said...

As the parent of two, it's a lot of work to get to the mindset where you couldn't imagine life without them.

Personally, I always saw myself as an uncle, not a father. This projection is obvious in the friend/father relationship I have with my sons. Many times, I don't get the respect I "deserve," because I let them call me by my first name and allow them the opportunity to act precocious.

I wouldn't give up my boys for anything in the world, but wouldn't recommend parenthood to anyone looking to live out their life's dreams (unless it's having a family).

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Brea said...

I think it takes a strong person to make the choice you did. And because of that, I know you are strong enough to get through the greiving process.

 
At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey T.,

No way.....I'm his favorite "Auntie". It was great to see ya.

Love,
NCHortStud

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger Aisha T. said...

Theresa: He is beautiful! I love being an aunt. The older I get, the less I want to have kids. Actually, it's never been a priority and I feel I still have way too many things I want to do that requires me to be kid free. Sounds like you have a lot of people that are lucky to have you round!

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger ZooooM said...

Both Mr. Zoom and I decided to give our child attentions to children already in the world, or to be brought into the world by other people. We aren't ever going to have any of our own. It doesn't mean we don't like/love them, we just don't think we are the right people to raise one of those. Temporarily amuse one or two? Ok. As long as I still get to sleep in once in a while, ya know?

People are constantly hearing of this decision of ours and then pointing at my torso as if they are going to activate the baby making urge by cooing at me.

It pains me when people who DO want kids do not ... I guess "get the chance?" to have them. I do get the feeling that at some point, everything you have to offer a child will be accepted and appreciated by one or more of them in this world. And while that probably doesn't help with the pain, it is a wonderful thing to think you will be affecting many children in this world. Cuz you are one great chik.

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger theresa said...

Larry – I’m gonna fall in love if you keep on with the sweet-talkin’.

Ron – There’s a reason the Universe made them so cute. Between the smelliness, noise level and the destruction, they can be difficult. I have 9 nieces and nephews now. After a weekend of “Auntie T, Auntie T, come chase us ... read to us … play a game … watch this … I’m hungry … I have to pee … ooops, I think I broke Grandma’s vase … carry me … will you buy me a spaz-blaster 6000?” … … I’m exhausted.

Laurie – Yeah, they’re only tiny for a little while. I usually stay home for Christmas, but that little ducky is tempting me to make the trip again just for the chance to cuddle some more.
Adoption is as big a deal as making one of my own. I may opt for Auntie-of-the-Year instead.

Kyle – There’s no compromise on the parenting thing. You either do it or you don’t. It’s the one job you’ll have for the rest of your life.

Brea – Thank you. Writing about it seems to help me feel like I have a handle on it.

JT – It was great to see you too Hot Stuff. Unfortunately, you’re a tad confused if you think that baby likes you best. He’s all about the boobies these days. He wants the cushiony goodness of warm soft breasts. Your sweet little body is just to hard for him.

Aisha – When you’re the aunt, it takes a lot of preparation and planfulness. You gotta make the time you have with them count. You’ve got a gorgeous new baby in your family too. We can trade Auntie stories.

Zoooom – I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be involved in the lives of many children. In fact, I’ve known Lu’s son since he was 2, and her daughter since she was born. They are now 23 and 20. Sometimes they call me their “Other Mother”. That really hit home when I drove Lu’s daughter to college last year. I think I cried harder than Lu did.

It’s really annoying when people expect you to procreate just because you reach a certain age, or get married. You always feel like you have to defend your decision not to get pregnant. Perhaps before people makes babies they should have to defend their decision to do so.

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about you. You have more strength than you know.

 
At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So when does one go off of the boobies?

NCHortStud

PS - You are looking so fantastic! Did you finish the mittens and how did they turn out?

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

"You always feel like you have to defend your decision not to get pregnant. Perhaps before people makes babies they should have to defend their decision to do so."


Amen!!!!!!

 
At 9:24 AM, Blogger theresa said...

Anon - It's kinda nice to know there are mysterious people thinking of me. Thank you.

JT - Some people never go off the boobies.
I finished the mittens Saturday night. K's fingers will be toasty warm all winter long.

Blaze - After a day at the mall, it seems like almost any fool can make a kid.

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger littlefeet said...

of course you are his favorite auntie... :)

and its ok to choose not to have children (you know that)...and its also your option to not defend that decision (you know that too)...

i love it that you "have children" in other ways...ways that are so damn important...

and yes, i have seen such beautiful children...but i will hand this one to you... :) he is an angel...

peace...

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger Julie said...

I haven't quite made my baby decision yet. I know that my guy and I are not interested in having children at this time. We are surrounded by babies though! All of my close gal friends in town have little ones. They gush about how it is the greatest joy...and makes their life complete...
I know that it is the greatest choice for them...but I don't know that it will be mine.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger kelebek }{ said...

Aww, he is soooo precious and adorable. Babies, I love babies, they are soo innocent.
I go between, "I want a huge family with 5 kids" to "ugh, children, no thanks!" We'll see what happens eventually, I am sure it will be on my blog!

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Bougie Black Boy said...

. . . and this is why I love you! ! ! when it comes to adoption/foster care, taking care of children--we're on the same level. Come marry me and lets adopt together! lol

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger theresa said...

Monkeye - All the babies are beautiful

Julie - It's probably not a good idea to make that kind of decision when you're holding the most beautiful baby in the world. Their super-power cuteness can overwhelm you.

Kelebek - See comment above. Although the world could use a couple more Hot Mom Chiks.

Stephen - That's a great idea. Our kids would be the best dressed, sassiest children on the playground.

 

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