I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but Mr. W isn’t sure whether he wants kids. I knew this early on, and like any red-blooded female, thought, “He didn’t say he doesn’t want them. Maybe we’ll end up on the same page eventually.”
Flash forward a year and a half, and this is our biggest sticking point. He has never given me a definitive “no,” but has said that if I didn’t want kids, we might be further along in our relationship.
I always pictured myself having kids. When I was in my early twenties, I had a deadline to have kids before I turned 30. That quickly passed, and the deadline morphed into a hope that I would have kids while I was still relatively young and capable of delivering healthy babies.
But the older I get, the more stressed I seem to feel when I picture kids in my life. I can’t imagine giving up quiet Friday nights with Oprah magazine. I can’t imagine devoting leisurely Saturdays to soccer games and play dates. I can’t imagine dealing with a child who’s been hurt or betrayed. It all feels very overwhelming. When I was younger, it didn’t feel that way.
This weekend, I spent about 30 hours with my nieces. 14, 10, 9 and 1 ½, each of them has something unique to offer. The little one cuddles and does all those cute, mesmerizing baby things. The 9 and 10-year-olds act silly and remind me how wonderful it is to have an imagination. The 14-year-old entertains me with teenage cynicism and intelligent conversation. I love them all to pieces.
And sometimes, I think they might be enough.
Being an aunt enables you to have children in your life without actually having the full responsibility. You get to enjoy them, then give them back to their parents. It's like all the good without the challenges. But then I wonder if this is like renting a convertible for the weekend. It’s a fun experience, but you don’t get to fully appreciate what it’s like to drive that sort of car every day. To feel the sun on your face after too many hours at the office, or smell the salt air as you’re cruising up the coast.
I feel so torn. So uncertain. Are nieces all I need? Or is a baby or two a necessity to round out my future?
I’ve been trying hard to reach a mental middle ground…and I think maybe I’ve found it.
It seems to me that the universe should decide what my path is. If I’m meant to have kids, I’ll have them. If I’m not, I won’t.
I used to think I would go through fertility treatments or adopt if I couldn’t get pregnant. But I think, now, I would just accept that as being my path. Accept that I’ve been given four beautiful nieces to guide and help raise.
I proposed this idea to Mr. W. He didn’t seem fully ready to let go and let the fates decide. But hopefully at some point, he will be. I’ve come this far with the good energy of the world looking out for me, I think I can lay my parental fate in those same hands. I think I can be at peace with whatever is meant to be.