As I continue to deconstruct… I was recently in New York visiting my family. Unfortunately, my father had fallen and broken his pelvis and I went there to see him and help out. Going back always brings up triggers and memories and habitual slush, but this time was different. I’m conflicted today, should I write about “family” or about the questions I ask myself around motherhood, and why I never had children? They kind of coincide…since while I was home and staying with my family, I got to visit with my 3 year old niece and 18-month-old nephew.
In the mornings, my niece and I brushed our teeth together and then she’d come into our room and pick out clothes for me to wear. Then she watched me put on make-up and I’d brush my hair and then hers. And when I put on some perfume she asked if she could have some too. When I put on blush, she asked if she could have some too. One night we watched a movie together, “Brave” and cuddled on the couch as we shared a bowl of popcorn. We really bonded this trip and when they dropped us off at the airport she started to cry… and I had to hold my own tears back too. I really haven’t had the opportunity to be around too many young children in my life. I worked with toddlers in a mommy and me music class but that was about it.
I often grapple with the fact that I never had children of my own. When I was younger, I was sure that I would have six, yes six, kids. I wanted a big family. I have an older brother who went to college after high school, and a younger step-brother who I never lived with and I kind of grew up like an only child… but I constantly hung out with other kids who had bigger families. I was thought to be the 5th Esposito in my friend June’s family, with 2 sisters and a brother. I was there just about ever Sunday for dinner…sleeping over all the time… and the one time I “ran away” my mother knew exactly where to find me… the Esposito’s house. I loved the yelling, the laughing, the fighting, the borrowing clothes… everything about it and I think it was then that I decided that someday I would have a big family too. Only that day never came.
I was that girl on the T-Shirt exclaiming, “Oh Noooo, I forgot to have kids!” And by the time I met my second husband, he already had 3 kids and didn’t want another… and so it was. I work so hard on not regretting anything in this life time… (Thank you Edith Piaf!) but I think if I were to be honest, I would have this one regret… that I didn’t get to experience carrying a baby in my body, or hold my baby in the morning and at night, or feed my baby… or play with my baby…or hold my baby when its crying or protect it when I thought it was in danger or watch it grow and share my life with them… and these days, so many people make reference to what it feels like to be a mother as an example of that kind of special love… and I feel a little left out.
I made my choices though… and I chose to have the life I had… and I guess it’s always greener, etc. etc… but now I have the privilege of loving other people’s babies and giving what I could have given my own… to them… with all my heart. And sometimes, I feel awkward, because I tell myself that people don’t see me as a “mom” yet I know I have always had maternal instincts, nurturing instincts, though I was too immature to recognize them for a long time. They are surprised (in my mind) to see me interact with kids… simply because I don’t have any. But that’s probably just a story I have in my head… and I don’t let it stop me from loving my nieces and nephews, step kids…and kids of our friends… I get to spoil them like an aunt, and sing to them, make them laugh. So no, I am not motherless… and I truly believe, that we are all mothers… caretakers of something or someone, I believe all women are.
I guess I leaned towards writing about motherhood. May be a good time since Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Happy Mother’s Day to every woman, for every woman is a mother on some level.