I was sitting at dinner with three other women all talking about writing. Soon they were comparing numbers of children. One had four, one had three, one had two. I have dogs. In the context of the conversation, I felt lucky to have more time to write and freedom to travel. With my husband in a nursing home, I don’t need to rush home anymore. But once again I felt left out of a very important part of life. I also felt it more important than ever to write about what it’s like to be childless, especially in a situation where if I had chosen a different man, I could have been a mom. I have to live with that fact forever, and I have to live with those moments where I’m the only one without children.
On Halloween, I played piano for the 5:30 p.m. Mass. Attendance was light. It never occurred to me until someone mentioned it afterward that folks would be busy escorting their trick-or-treaters around the neighborhood. I have never had to costume a child and worry about whether he would be Spiderman or a pirate or some critter I don’t even know about because I’m not up on kid culture. After Mass, I went to a grownup party with grownup drinks and no kids, just dogs. Sometimes it feels as if children exist in an alternate universe.
Know what I mean?