In last week’s post, I was all “woe is me, I’m alone. I don’t have kids, my husband died, and here I am, injured and alone.”
Let’s look at the other side of things today. For those who missed last week’s post, a rotten board in my deck gave way, my leg went through it, and I fell backwards. I ended up with a broken rib and a leg bruised from hip to ankle. No fun, but it could have been so much worse. The incident showed me that I need a better emergency plan. I’m working on that.
Fast forward a week. My deck has been repaired. I’m healing. I can now move around without screaming, and my bruises are not as colorful anymore. In a few weeks, I’ll be as good as new. I plan to exercise like a maniac to get rid of the weight I’ve gained sitting around.
But here’s the thing. Once the original shock faded, I realized I love my life. I love my freedom. If my nonexistent grown children had rushed to the hospital, they would have insisted I could not take care of myself, that I should not live alone anymore. They would put boundaries on my freedom. Oh Mom, don’t do that. You’re too old. Too delicate. Too injured.
They would have had a fit if they saw me hanging my Halloween lights the other night. I just love colored lights, and I felt well enough to do it.
I love my freedom. Yesterday on a whim, I took myself to lunch at the nicest restaurant in town. Then I bought groceries, did some shopping, and went to the library. Back home, I walked the dog, then settled in the sunny patio to write. When I ran out of words, I played my mandolin, probably driving the neighbors crazy, but who cares? I had nobody else’s schedule to worry about, so I did what I wanted to do. This was not terrible.
My friends rallied around when they heard what happened. They brought food, flowers, and prayers. They offered rides, housecleaning help, and even a bed to sleep in if I didn’t want to be alone. I often think of myself as alone, but I have more people, than I realized, and help is available when I need it—even though I don’t have a husband or children. Of course when they need help, I need to be there for them, too.
I need to make a plan for Thanksgiving. I don’t enjoy spending holidays alone. I’m going to have to reach out, and that’s hard for me.
But sitting in the sun in the patio that I put together myself, I thought, “I love my life.” Should I feel guilty for not being sad? I don’t think so.
People who have traditional families often have to wait until retirement to pursue their passions, to write that book, take that class, or go on that trip. We don’t have to wait. We can do it now.
Some people choose not to have children. They want the freedom, the uninterrupted time, and the money they can save. They sound selfish to those of us who would happily trade all that for someone who calls us Mom or Dad. But since we’re in this situation, let’s admit that sometimes it’s not so bad.
What can you do today that you could not do if you had children? I look forward to your comments.
Fun book with nobody having babies:
The Chili Queen by Sandra Dallas
It’s the 1880s. Addie French is a madam in a small town in New Mexico. She has two “girls” at the moment and pitches in as needed with the gentlemen callers. She has a boyfriend in New Mexico named Ned and another unnamed boyfriend in Kansas, where she visits to shop and socialize. On the train home from Kansas, she meets Emma, an aging mail-order bride who is about to be stood up by her potential husband. Addie takes pity on her and lets her move into her boardinghouse—not as a good-time girl. Soon Emma and Ned get chummy. Ned happens to be a bank robber, and they cook up a get-rich scheme, but everything goes catawampus, with crooks tricking crooks and surprises right up to the last chapter. Do the good guys win? Well, it’s hard to tell who they are, but it doesn’t matter. This book is good to the last page.