It is hard to believe it but even in today’s society, there are times when it seems as if women without children are still looked at as having something missing from their lives. It is as if we could not live a full and happy life without children of our own. There are many women out there like me. Women who for whatever reason, find themselves in their sixties without children of their own – no grown children, no grandchildren, and in the thinking of many, no one to take care of us in our old age. When the question is asked “Do you have any children?” and I respond “No, I do not” the reaction is very predictably one of three. The first reaction – after a very pregnant pause (yes, that was intended) – is that the subject is quickly changed to something else. The second reaction is “Really? None? Not even from your first marriage?” as if the response is subject to change. The third is “Aren’t you lucky!”
Children are truly a blessing however they come into our lives. It does not matter if we are married or single, young or old, actively seeking parenthood or becoming a parental figure or surrogate parent of sorts for a child in need of someone to fill that role in their life. My approach to life has never been to live languishing in those things that I do not have in my life but embracing and nourishing those things that are present.
There are many ways to have an impact on the lives of children by being a friend, a mentor, and a role model and I am grateful for those oppportunities. I take great joy in in the accomplishments, large and small, of the children of my friends and colleagues, my nieces and nephews, and so many others. I love participating in events celebrating the accomplishments of young people. It does not make me wistful for things I did not experience but joyful in seeing young people grow, learn and develop into the wonderful, loving, successful adults we all need in our future.
Life is good either way!
I recently overheard a woman in my gym saying that she felt blessed that she did not have any children and was able to pursue her career as she did. I would never considered myself lucky that I did not have children. It is simply a fact of my life. It truly takes a village to raise our children and we can all have an impact in their journey. I feel I am incredibly lucky and blessed to have been able to impact so many children and young adults along my journey and there are so many more that I hope to meet and encourage as the journey continues and hopefully, I will see many of you – with or without children – along the way.