My father has a soft spot for small children. When I called him after Halloween, he told me about a little girl he described as really cute with “a little skirt and blouse.” I don’t know what kind of costume that was, but that wasn’t the point anyway. Unlike all the other kids who grabbed their candy and hurried to the next house, this child walked right past him into the living room and sat down. Dad, who doesn’t laugh much, chuckled at the memory. She just made herself at home until her father forced her to come out. However, that wasn’t the end. She snuck into the house one more time. Dad thought that was the cutest thing. I teased that she wanted to become his new roommate.
It was a sweet story, but it brought home to me again how I could have made a visit from a little girl or boy a regular thing. If I had had children, I would never have moved to Oregon. I couldn’t break up the family that way. Instead, I imagine I would have brought them to my parents’ house often. Certainly I would have brought them over to show off their Halloween costumes. My mother and father would have loved it. Now I remember my niece, Susan, on my mother’s lap. It was the most beautiful picture. I also remember my dad and grandpa taking my brother and my nephew William fishing. I can picture that line of Fagalde men lined up along the shore. Unfortunately my brother lives far away, so my folks didn’t see his kids much when they were young, but they did have those moments.
By being this lone writer with no children, only dogs, I not only deprived my parents of the joy of grandparenting; I missed the pleasure of seeing my kids and their grandparents love each other.
For people who never wanted children and didn’t feel that close to their parents, I suppose this is not an issue, but for me, it’s one of many little hurts that will never completely go away.