The little blonde girl wandered around the auditorium at the monthly Fiddlers Jamboree clutching her little blonde doll. Now and then the girl talked to the doll and stroked its plastic hair. When the fiddle music got lively, she danced with her, looking back to make sure her mother was watching.
Across the room, a plain-looking woman with thick glasses and scraggly brown hair displayed a real baby as if it were a trophy. She showed that newborn to everyone. Look, see what I have. Suddenly this mousy woman had a claim to greatness: she had borne this baby. It was a very new baby, its navel still not healed, its head a soft formless bobble buried in blankets. She held it very carefully and proudly.
Meanwhile, I cradled my guitar and watched a tall blond in tight black jeans, a striped tank top and a cowboy hat serve cake to her fat daughter whose buck teeth matched her mom’s. The mother had the MC proclaim that it was Shannon’s eighth birthday. After feeding her a giant portion of chocolate-frosted birthday cake, she hauled the kid on stage with her violin to squeak out a horrendous rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and an even worse “Red River Valley.”
The mother stood by, smiling, sure that her fiddle-playing friends were impressed by her little prodigy. The woman overseeing the show held her hand over her mouth the whole time. I couldn’t tell whether she was laughing or horrified.
Just when I couldn’t stand much more of this mother-and-child adoration, I noticed the first little girl had dropped her doll on the ground and gone in search of other amusement. In fact, I almost stepped on the doll.
The toddler is a mommy in training—as I was once. I learned my lessons well, but I was trained to be something I didn’t become. I sat in that sweltering auditorium, nervously awaiting my turn on stage and felt like a girl who had gone to a party and forgotten to bring her dolly. What did I have to show off? Just a nicked-up guitar and a couple of country songs.
This is an excerpt from my Childless by Marriage Book. Have you had moments when you felt so totally left out because you didn’t have children?
Copyright 2010 Sue Fagalde Lick