Most childless women fear being alone in old age. Yes, sure, many tell me they have good friends or siblings who will care for them, but it’s not the same as having grown children who feel some obligation to you.
Driving by my neighbors’ house yesterday, I saw their son putting up their Christmas lights. Oh, how I envied them. This year my husband is gone, and I’m not even sure I can get the lights down from their high perch at the top of the garage. At least not without falling off the ladder or dropping the boxes so hard everything inside breaks.
Whom do I call for help? Yes, I have friends, busy friends who work all the time, elderly friends with physical limitations, and grandmother friends who leave town to spend the holidays with their families. I have a brother who always welcomes me to his home, but he lives too far away.
This Thanksgiving, my first year without my husband, I spent the afternoon with friends. We had a wonderful time full of good food, music, and laughter. Then I came home to an empty house. And I cried.
Women become widows whether they have children or not. Most of us choose men who are older than we are. At some point we lose them and end up alone. But if we have children, we can hope for a telephone call or a knock at the door. We can envision a younger person who looks like us wrapping us in a big hug and filling our homes with life.
Childless women without husbands or partners are holiday orphans. That’s what my yoga teacher called the singles she invited to her dinner. Yes, I was invited, too. In fact, I had several invitations to spend the day with other people’s families. Poor Sue must not be alone. But it was not the same.
How was your Thanksgiving experience without children? And how will your childless state affect your Christmas? It’s okay to whine, like me. You’ll never find a more sympathetic audience.