Other People’s Children, May 7, 2023 (Journal Peek Dec. 6, 2004)

Other People’s Children

     I’m 57 years old and I’ve never had a child. No one would have predicted this.  I’ve always been absolutely gaga about babies.  When I was five, when my mother went to her Progressive Study Club, I’d spend the whole afternoon watching the babies laid out on the bed in the middle of a pile of coats.  I would barely take my eyes off them.  They seemed precious, beautiful and endlessly fascinating.  In any crowd, my eyes fell on the babies.  Whenever my much older sister had a child, I’d go to visit and the baby would sleep in my room.
     So why did I never have a child and do I regret it?   I never had a child because I was too busy living my life and somehow it always seemed that a child would interfere.  I was selfish, yes, and last night I had a dream that adequately depicted that selfishness.  In the dream, I was going to a concert.  I went next door to my neighbors, who had many children, and asked if I could take one of them to the concert. 
     “Take me, take me!” each indicated by raising his arms or coming into my view.  I took one of the smallest.  It wasn’t until after the concert when I was again home that I realized that I’d left the child at the concert and worse to tell, I couldn’t even remember which one I’d taken!  It was as though the minute I’d picked the child up that I’d forgotten it.  The guilt was crushing but I seemed more worried about how I’d admit it to the parent than what might have happened to the child. I wondered whether to return to the concert or to go to the parent, which I dreaded. In the end, I went to see the parent and the child was there with her so I didn’t even mention that I’d lost her child. Afterwards I thought that I should go to the child and apologize, but I never did. 
     This dream ties in to a lifetime of dreams where I forget to feed and put more water in the tank of my fish and go down to find them transformed into fake fish lying on the bottom of a waterless tank, or have kittens or babies I forget to feed.  It’s perfectly clear that this dream comes from some part of me that has always feared that I wouldn’t be an adequate caretaker over the long run.  And so in the past, I always confined my caretaking to a few weeks in the summer, when I have my niece and nephews to visit, or Saturday visits from neighborhood kids for painting or singing or games.
     Now at 57, I prefer to feed the child in the adults I find.  To nourish their missing parts, care for the untended places in their souls. It’s like I’m a delayed parent, making up for the lacks in their pasts.
     Twenty years ago, when I’d first met the man who was to become my husband, I went to a psychic to discover why he looked so familiar to me from the start, why I saw dozens of faces  when I looked at him, all of those faces familiar.  She took me back in a supposed past life progression, During that time, a little girl spoke to me.  She said she was meant to be my child in this lifetime, but that since I’d been a mother in so many of my more recent past lives that she understood why I might want to spend this present life entirely on my self.  “If you decide not to have me,” she said.  “I’ll come to you some other way.  So don’t worry.  Just enjoy this life for yourself.” 
     So every time I meet a little girl or see the little girl or boy in an adult who has never resolved past issues, I wonder if that is the little girl trying to find me.  And I try to respond.
     This is the full extent of my mothering, and I must say that I’ve really never regretted not having a child.  When I see a friend focusing her full attention and enjoyment on her daughter, I realize that I have that same relationship with my friends, and when I think of the friend whose son gambled away their retirement or the other friend who is raising her second grandchild, I know that life has turned out just right for me.  Yes, I have children, but I get to decide when I see and care for them.  And I get to continue to feed my own inner child.  Selfish, perhaps, but somehow I think I’m just filling the exact niche I was born to fill.
                                                                                                                      —Dec. 6, 2004

Note: In lieu of the rhymed and metered poems to prompts that I’ve written and put on my blog daily over the past ten years, I’ve decided to start publishing excerpts from the journals I’ve been keeping for the past 22 years, hoping this will prompt me to transform them into a book. I welcome your comments about whether you find these peeks into my past interesting enough to warrant that effort. 

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About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

28 thoughts on “Other People’s Children, May 7, 2023 (Journal Peek Dec. 6, 2004)

  1. VJ

    I’m enjoying this new side of your writing Judy. While your poems are always captivating, this reveals a deeper side of you. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      Thanks for doing the same, VJ. I’m hoping this time I’ll be able to carry through with this project that I’ve been trying to do for years..This extra time gained from blogging will help..

      Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      The truth is, I was also waiting for the right person to have one with, but once I found him, he had already had ten children and was so ready to get on with the next stage of his life so I chose not to have any.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje

    This is a personal view of you Judy. I’m glad you don’t carry a my regrets about not having children. It was your decision and the love you have dispersed to other children is a beautiful kind gesture

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Martha Kennedy

    I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to raise children. I also don’t know why anyone wants to be married. This, of course, from THIS advanced vantage point of my life and I’ve been married. As for children? I decided long, long ago that there are enough children in the world and I would do a better job as the “other” adult in their lives. I like kids a LOT (don’t like babies much, though baby animals are cool…) I took on that role very happily and was good at it. So I don’t get why it’s selfish NOT to have children. I think a lot of times it’s selfish TO have children.

    As for what you are now posting in your blog? Last night (still fighting my brain) I thought — accidentally — about an incident in my life, and it hit me, “You have experienced a LOT Martha, and took it all in stride, but some of it was really weird and scary.” The episode I thought of was weird and scary, but I never wrote about it. It involved my role as the “other adult” in the lives of some kids. Other people’s stories have the potential to shed light on our own so I say go for it! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Judy Reeves

    Another fine essay, Judy. I love the part about the regression to past lives and the message you received. And your dreams always seem so vivid, and you remember them so well. Thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glenda Roman

    I anticipate for numberless reasons, having been the child-like receiver of your generous heart-skills just when most needed. Thanks Mom!

    Liked by 1 person


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