My visit south was filled with a surprising amount of lethargy. Waking up was so difficult on just about every morning. I blamed it on the heat, the thick, humid southern air, and even the quality of mattress I slept on. With all that sleep I was getting, my dream world was very active.
One morning, while having been cast in the role of emergency back up babysitter, I lay sleeping next to my precious Squirrel. On this particular morning, unlike the others with his regular sitter, he slept for hours. When he slept, I slept. I had several dreams that morning but one stands out in particular. The dream was an exact replica of what was happening at the time, me sleeping next to Squirrel. I didn't realize I was even asleep until I woke up because the scene was so real and in the moment. In the dream, Squirrel awoke and was rooting (searching for ninny). I kept inching away from him because I don't produce so much as powdered milk in these breasts. In his sleep he continued to squirm closer and closer to me. Just as he was about to latch on [to a breast that was never revealed as being exposed], Squirrel faded out and was replaced by a ghostly white baby form. There was something rather familiar in the roundness of the baby's face, almost a mirror of my own.
When I was younger, I wanted 6 children. I've been taking care of babies/children since I was little older than a toddler. It's natural for me to reach for the baby, step in with the children, and have my surrogate mommy moments. With age and childlessness (not including my daughter from another mother), I have become less and less interested in children. They've been advertised to me as the best blessing to happen to a person. I've also been told that children will change my life and shape me into a wonderful person who would do anything for her offspring. If there's anything you must do in life, it's have children.
Well, suppose you can't. Then what? That choice was made for me upon my arrival in this plane. There are years I spent feeling robbed of the most natural occurrence and my womanly right. Though fewer, in recent years, I've felt more like my life is the reverse of a curse. Everyone's not cut out for parenting, and I'm honestly afraid that I'm not. I am my parents child. I come with my mother's critical eye and heavy hand. I also come with my father's quiet demeanor. If I were someone's mother now (daughter from another mother not withstanding), I worry that I wouldn't have talked to my child enough and adversely affect his/her emerging literacy. I worry that I would unintentionally choke all forms of his/her mediums for expression with my harsh criticisms and affinity for absolutes (though I'm growing more & more comfortable with shades of gray). I worry that the decisions I'd make for him/her would be based on who I am not on who s/he is. I fear not being satisfied with available education options, being too strict in efforts to minimize the influence of "regular" kids. I fear the unknown, like birth defects and life altering accidents. I fear giving my child too much and subsequently dousing his/her drive like a grease fire. I'm afraid of not liking my child(ren), while doing my best to love him/her. I can't guarantee that I'm selfless enough to devote my every hour to my child(rens) needs and enriching activities. I'd want to do it all the way right and I'm not sure my selfish period won't outlast any child. There are no guarantees with this parenthood stuff.
My mind might change tomorrow and perhaps I'll be back to wallowing in the murky waters of issues outside of my control. I wonder occasionally if this fear is a figment of my imagination to excuse the hand I was dealt in order to cope with it. It's amazing, if you were ever present for the Sad Years that I would just coolly walk away from all of that as if it were a trash can on the curb. No one's coming to pick this 1 up. Is it bio-degradable pain, or will it be waiting for me the next time I back out of my proverbial driveway? I can't answer any of those questions right now, so I'll just walk with today's truth and be thankful that thus far, I haven't torn anymore layers in my personal ozone. Should I find myself stumbling over this bag of trash again, I'll deal with it then. For now, I'll leave parenting to those who want it, and those who don't realize we've all got choices...well, most of us.
I'm sure my imaginary children are thankful that I haven't actually given them shape and form and used them as test models for proving any of the above theories about myself right or wrong. "You're welcome, Babies."
For now, still childless and still alright with it.
Watch me move.